This summer, the first UK solo exhibition of artist Issa Samb opens at Rivington Place. Curated by Koyo Kouoh, From the Ethics of Acting to the Empire without Signs will showcase a new installation that references the changing environment of Issa Samb’s atelier, as well as his unique collaboration with French theatre director Jean Michel Bruyère.
Born in Dakar in 1945, Samb’s practice is varied and large in scope: it ranges from acting for theatre and film to writing, installation, performance, painting and sculpture. He founded the Laboratoire Agit’Art with a group that included filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety, painter El Hadj Sy, and playwright Youssoufa Dione. From its inception in 1974, the Laboratoire was a revolutionary and subversive artist collective that brought together many creative disciplines from painting to performance.
Rooted in modes of contemporary art and theatre and drawing from the interactive elements of traditional African performance, Samb has developed a recognisable approach to his art. This comes together in sculptural form at the courtyard of his atelier in Dakar. Here found and transformed objects and materials are installed around a tree, providing an example of Issa Samb’s artistic vision and his belief in collective action.
The installation at Rivington Place will includer works shipping in from Senegal in addition to elements that have been gathered from London street markets. The exhibition will contain fragments of Samb’s writings and some short films from director Jean Michel Bruyère, in which Samb plays a role. His ranging influence will be apparent and his interactions and engagements with Laboratoire Agit’ Art will also be considered, demonstrated by an archival display of material.
Issa Samb: From the Ethics of Acting to the Empire without Signs, 4 June – 26 July, Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA, www.rivingtonplace.org.
Follow us on Twitter @AestheticaMag for the latest news in contemporary art and culture
1. Issa Samb Untitled Dakar, no day (Dakar, pas de jour) drawing. Courtesy Raw Material Company.