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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Malick Sidibé at Jack Shainman Gallery

Malick Sidibé at Jack Shainman Gallery

Image above: ©Malick Sidibé Vues de dos, 2003-2004 gelatin silver print / Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
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malick
Image above: ©Fernando Sandoval, Opening Night

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce Malick Sidibé’s sixth solo exhibition at the gallery, which chronicles this living master's iconic career, beginning in 1950s Bamako, Mali, where he still lives and works. Many of this diverse selection of vintage and contemporary black-and-white prints have never before been exhibited, yet solidify Sidibé's lasting influence in today's art world. Street scenes and studio shots, while formally distinct from each other, all capture a pervasive sense of freedom and identity amongst youth in postcolonial Mali and continue to speak to a shared spirit of modernity and diaspora.

MS03.566 Vues de dos (unframed) HR
MS03.566 Vues de dos (unframed) HR
Image above: ©Malick Sadibé, Vues de dos - Juin, 2003-2004, gelatin silver print / Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

While internationally acclaimed for his formal portrait studio and candid shots of exuberant parties and nightclubs, Malick Sidibé presents lesser known works to provide context for the depth of the artist’s diverse practice. Street scenes and images like Horloger dans son Atelier (1963/2008) and Le Technicien de Radio Mali (1966/2008) capture everyday Malians at their jobs with the same intensity of the iconic studio work, while featuring subjects comfortably in their element.

MS03.564 Vues de dos_cropped HR
MS03.564 Vues de dos_cropped HR
Image above: ©Malick Sidibé, Vues de dos, 2003-2004, gelatin silver print / Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

The recent series, Vue de Dos (2001—ongoing), which depicts women turned with their often bare backs to the camera, marks an important shift in Sidibé’s career. Previously, he had never considered himself a fine artist, although his studio work and candid images gave rise to artistic impact that has resonated for decades.  By taking on a classic genre of art history—the female nude—Sidibé  comes to terms with his legacy as a major creative force of African culture in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. Considered risqué, Sidibé resists exhibiting this work in his native country. For the exhibition, these private portraits are made public in the gallery space.

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malick3
Image above: ©Malick Sidibé, Un petit bain de soleil à la plage, 1975-2008 gelatin silver print / Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

The unidentified figures, each photographed uniformly from behind, are reminiscent of Velazquez’sRokeby Venus (c. 1647–51), suggesting the most sensual kind of beauty is that which is concealed, rather than made explicit. Here the goddess is reimagined as a voluptuous muse, exuding eroticism. The women are at once sculptural and faceless, but still radiate a powerful style all their own.

Untitled
Untitled
Image above: ©Malick Sidibé, Jardin d'enfants - à Croix-Rouge, route de Koulikoro, 1963-2008 gelatin silver print / Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Sidibé has work in numerous public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Getty Museum, California; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. He was awarded the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement (2008), the Hasselblad Award (2003), and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award by the Board of La Biennale di Venezia (2007) when he was included in Think with the Senses Feel with the Mind, curated by Robert Storr at the 52nd Annual Venice Biennale.

Malick Sidibé is on view at Jack Shainman Gallery until April 23, 2016 at 513 W 20th st, New York, NY
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