May 10, 2014 - Jun 9, 2014

Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity - Dakar

Imago Mundi


Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity - Dakar
Imago Mundi exhibited at Dak'Art Off 2014 as part of the 11th edition of the Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar. The exhibition comprised the collections from Senegal, Latin America, Australia (Aboriginal art), South Korea, Russia and the United States. More than 1,200 works by contemporary artists for a visual narrative of the art of humanity. The Africa of our origins, the Africa of our future. “The ancient bed of mankind," as American writer Saul Bellow called the continent, was a strategic place for a new stop (following the Venice Biennale in 2013) on the journey of Imago Mundi, the contemporary art project that aims to give, and pass on to future generations, the widest possible visual mapping of human cultures at the start of the third millennium. Imago Mundi comes to Dak'Art Off 2014 to recall that art, from the African rock paintings of prehistoric times, constitutes a fascinating and enduring trace of our passage on Earth.

155 works by established and illuminated maestros like Amadou Seck, alongside young emerging artists, create a fascinating mosaic of colours, styles and techniques to bring us the contemporary art of Senegal, with all its variety and generosity. The meeting - Dokh Dadjé - of diverse artistic personalities brings us a collective vision of desire for the future, tradition and the culture of openness that co-exist here. Because Senegal is the land of “Teranga”, of hospitality and caring for others, the ability to offer - just as art does - the biggest part of itself and to accept, with gratitude, whatever it receives in return.

The extraordinary pictorial culture of a people hidden for too long, who use art to proudly assert the dynamism, vitality and beauty of a mystical, dreamlike tradition. The 216 works collected in this volume provide unprecedented testimony to a unique figurative poetry, a visionary journey amidst the colours of the desert landscape through the eyes of affirmed artists such as Tommy Watson or Mrs. Bennett, alongside many others who are less well known. A new abstractionism that to some extent has been overlooked in the West.

Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela. This collection of 200 paintings is a mosaic not only of countries, but also of peoples, ethnic groups and movements that continually construct and deconstruct the reality of Latin America. It is a collection that brings together established and emerging artists with different personalities, styles, themes and techniques, in the name of colour, beauty, movement and dreams. These artists not only bear witness to the evolution of an entire continent, but provide us with expressive clues to a new project for the world and society.

Small paintings to illuminate a varied artistic universe, a boundless space that transcends political boundaries to bring together, through history and destiny, people and countries ranging from the most western districts of Russia to Kamchatka in the far east, from the Ukraine to Uzbekistan, from Armenia to Kazakhstan. A personal interpretation of the world and of our time, offered by artists destined to be the protagonists of the figurative culture of tomorrow. And, just like Kandinsky, they remind us that "art transcends the limits within which the time would like to compress it, and indicates the content of the future."

A creative wave of expressive connections: landscapes, cartoons, ideograms of ancient Asian cultures alongside the new symbols of the most advanced technology. A vital force, announcing the art of tomorrow. The works of more than 200 South Korean artists in this volume not only express the spirit of the time of one of the countries with the fastest growth rates (cultural, social, economic), they also explore new and original figurative paths.

Filmmakers, video artists, photographers, illustrators, musicians, painters: a new platform of established and emerging talent confronts an ecological crisis that appears to outweigh any relevance of art or culture in our society. A collective declaration signed by 270 artists - in the name of diversity and freedom of expression - to try to discover how to deconstruct our powerful, individual identities for the sake of the larger community.

Viewing the Imago Mundi collections is facilitated by the design of the exhibition by the architect Tobia Scarpa, who has created a welcoming space that facilitates understanding of the richness of the exhibit. The structure provides clear visibility of the small canvasses and, thanks to the display stands that close like the leaves of a book, is easy to transport and install, facilitating the itinerant aims of the collection, destined to travel without frontiers, to be shown, in collaboration with private institutions and public museums, to the greatest possible number of people in the world.

If it is true that the artist is an example of creative humanity, giving to the world, to each one of us, more than he takes, I believe that together the artists in this exhibition convey beauty, passion and commitment, together with the ethics of competence, knowledge and an idea of the future. I also hope they engage visitors in a sincere dialogue with art and with the world, remembering that meaning, ideas, reason and inspiration are not the monopoly of “I”, but thrive on interaction and communication. Reflecting on the history of African arts, the German anthropologist Leo Frobenius wrote, “Only if all peoples learn to think in terms of ‘You’, can the ideal of mankind and civilization be achieved.”
Luciano Benetton

Credits: Story

In collaboration with
Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche

Luciano Benetton

Curated by
Alain Manini / Frédéric Barillé, Senegal Manuel Basoalto, Latin America
John Ioannou, Australian Aboriginal Art YoungJoo Ko, South Korea
Vasily Startsev, Russia Diego Cortez, United States

Exhibition design
Tobia Scarpa

Alain Manini

Exhibition graphics
Namyoung An / Fabrica

Organizing secretary
Valentina Granzotto

Exhibition texts
Martina Fornasaro Pietro Valdatta

Exhibition video
3D Productions

Carlo Antonio Biscotto Emma Cole

Press office
Martina Fornasaro

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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