Making Africa a continent of contemporary design at Guggeheim Bilbao

 

 

 

The Africa of wars, drought and famine is both a spot of reflection and creativity in the service of social, political and technological change, thanks to a new generation of artists, architects and designers, fully connected to the Internet and new technologies that make their country a melting-pot of reciprocal international influences.

 

 

 

 


This is what reflects the ambitious exhibition Making Africa-a continent of contemporary design, that occupies 22 rooms of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao with the work of 120 artists, creators and designers of Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Angola, Senegal, Mozambique, Ghana , Benin and Congo and others born or based in Europe.

 

 

 

 


The exhibition, organized jointly with the Vitra Desing Museum, Basel (Switzerland), passed first by the Swiss museum and, for this occasion, it has been expanded with 13 new spaces for its large size art works that could not hang in Basel.

 

 

 

 

 

Objects, fashion, architecture, design objects, graphic arts, painting or urbanism, and also film series, workshops and panel discussions, the exhibition "makes an overview of the highlights of contemporary African creation and how this is a guide and feeds the political, economic and social change on the continent, transcending colonial readings and territorial domination ", as explained the curator, Amelie Klein, also curator of the Vitra Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition begins in the Museum atrium, where Amadou Lamine Ndom, urban artist, has made a 12-meter graffiti depicting the old and the new Africa, a large ceremonial mask integrated in a colorful and modern architecture and images of latest information technologies. In addition, also at the beginning, visitors enter a room with 22 video interviews with main characters of this African creative explosion.

 

 

 

 

 

Making Africa-a continent of contemporary design is divided into four sections:

Prologue, it shows different prejudices created in the West on Africa to try to banish stereotypes and cliches.

I and We, design of objects shown as a tool for the expression of life experiences.

Space and Object, speaks of urbanism as a creative discipline and the relationship between individuals and the cities they inhabit.

Origin and Future, fashion, furniture and photographs the aesthetic tastes of contemporary Africans seeking its roots in response to the prevailing globalization.

 

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.