November 16, 2019 - January 11, 2020

Political Strategy

For the special occasion of the Amsterdam Art weekend, Lumen Travo gallery presents a new series of ink, acrylic and oil-bar works on paper by Beninois artist Thierry Oussou.

“Political Strategy” is a visual investigation that finds its starting point in one of the oldest and most popular games in Africa – the board game Adji. The rules are easy as well as the aspect of the game itself: the Adji board is composed of two rows of six holes each, and 48 seeds are used. Two players stand in front of each other trying to accumulate more seeds as possible while moving them from one hole to another. Wins who ends up with more seeds.
According to Thierry perspective, Adji is just the starting point of a much deeper investigation that touches upon all aspects of society and its rules, opening up to a series of interpretations: on one side seeds can be perceived as people migrating from a place to another. On a different perspective, seeds can be money, fundament of our economy. And, the game itself, the physical wooden surface where the action happens, can be our country as well the cities we live in.

Thierry does not investigate only the game itself but also its surrounding, translating through an alphabet of signs and colors the attitude of the players and the way they deal with winning and losing: a line become here the gesture of a human, and, more precisely, the disappointment of a player who’s about to lose the game, or, instead, the explosive excitement of another one about to win it. While the lines draw bodies, the faces present in almost every work are the people who, through the game, reveal their inner and true self.
The old concept of “game of forces” is here rejuvenated by the fresh vision of an artist constantly challenging his visitors with new elements and interpretations, evidence of his interest in the subtle details and in common-place, everyday drawings – drawing that are barely noticeable yet ubiquitous, that highlight the universality of their approach as a shared visual language of expression.

Thierry Oussou was born in 1988 in Allada, Benin, where he founded the art studio Yè; he continues to give workshops on arts and visual culture in schools and cultural institutions across Benin.
He has participated in residencies at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2015), and Dokoutin, Brussels (2014). Thierry exhibited at the Dakar Biennale in 2014, at the Berlin Biennial in 2018 and at the 2019 Brazil Biennial.

In his practice Oussou deals with questions about authenticity, history, heritage and visibility. Through his use of various media including painting, sculpture and video, he brings reflection to this moment, crafting probing yet poetic commentaries on the threads that link the past and the future.

Join us for the official opening of the show, on Saturday the 16th November from 17:00 to 19:00!

Exhibition running till the 20th January 2020.
Special opening times for the Amsterdam Art weekend:
Friday 22 November: 12-7pm
Saturday 23 November: 12-7pm
Sunday 24 November: 12-5pm