ABOUDIA (B. 1983)
6 Partenaires (6 Partners)
signed 'ABOUDIA' (lower centre)
oil, oilstick and printed paper collage on canvas
5918 x 11814in. (150.1 x 300.5cm.)
Executed in 2020
Robinsons Art Gallery, Knokke.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

At over three metres in width, Aboudia’s 6 Partenaires (6 Partners)is a monumental work featuring six of his celebrated ghostly figures. Rendered in evocative, Day-Glo oilstick, these spectres stare intensely and insistently ahead.  Concentrated swathes of luminous colour fill the background, and the painting thrums with an irrepressible vitality. Born in Côte d’Ivoire, Aboudia’s art is rooted in the streets of Abidjan, his home and the country’s economic capital. The childlike faces he has depicted recur throughout his practice, and their wide eyes have borne witness to the country’s history of conflict. To speak to such harrowing experiences, Aboudia draws from Abidjan’s graffitied walls, West African wood carvings, and traditional Vodou practices, among countless others. Yet the large canvases he works on suggest an undercurrent of hope: as Aboudia explains, ‘[They] allow me to think of dreams in the largeness and in the same colours of those youth who roam the streets, painting on the large walls we find all around us’ (Aboudia, quoted in O. Reade, ‘How to Paint Ghosts’, Africa Is a Country, 4 October 2013).

Aboudia’s work is often put in dialogue with that of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and like his predecessor, he too uses a graffiti vernacular inscribed with recurrent motifs. If Basquiat captured the Black American experience in his palimpsestic imagery, Aboudia’s work is firmly located in Côte d’Ivoire. Calling his approach Nouchi—a language that blends several Ivorian languages and French—Aboudia’s distinctive aesthetic is likewise alchemical. Indeed, he relentlessly hunts out new references and sources of inspiration; art, he explains ‘is the search for new sensations’ (Aboudia, ibid.). Layering paint, pastel, and paper collage, 6 Partenaires is a dizzying, mesmerising force.

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