Ouattara Watts — Ouattara in Paris


Mixed media

Ouattara Watts
Ouattara in Paris

Past: June 9 → July 29, 2023

Almine Rech Paris is pleased to present Ouattara Watts’ first solo exhibition with the gallery, on view from June 9 to July 29, 2023.

Like the ‘intercessors’ in the title of certain of his paintings, Ouattara Watts intercedes at the cross-roads of civilisations to reconcile worlds. His work bridges geographies and forms of longstanding aesthetic heritage, constructing intricate dialogues between cultural and iconographic systems. Watts’ visual languages are heart-stoppingly beautiful and expansive, while retaining always a layered complexity of references, signs and correspondences. It is almost half a century since he arrived in Paris from Abidjan in 1977 to study painting at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, before moving to New York just over a decade later and making it his home. His first museum show in the United States was at Berkeley Art Museum in 1994, curated by Lawrence R. Rinder who then selected his work for the Whitney Biennial (2002).

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CluelesS, Robe de chaise, 2023 Textile and plastic, variable dimensions Courtesy de l’artiste & Les Bains-Douches, Alençon photo Romain Darnaud

In the same year, Okwui Enwezor showed three large paintings in Documenta XI (2002), having also included his work in the landmark survey ‘The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994’ (2001–2002). Since that time, Watts has continued to build a remarkable oeuvre, composing and manipulating richly textured and coloured painted surfaces with virtuosity at an often-monumental scale, as well as working more intimately on paper with watercolour and gouache, and integrating found objects and elements of collage. Seen from within European and North American art history, Watts’ work speaks among other things to abstract expressionism (Rothko, Pollock) and neo-expressionist fig-uration. Yet it completely exceeds such categories, and rather draws these points of reference into vast, polyphonic aesthetic architectures.

 — Kathryn Weir

03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

64, rue de Turenne

75003 Paris

T. 01 45 83 71 90 — F. 01 45 70 91 30

Official website

Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

Venue schedule

The artist