Collector Jean Pigozzi’s Collection of African Contemporary Art Is Among the Best in the World, and It’s on View in Zurich—See Highlights Here

In July, Pigozzi gifted MoMA with 45 pieces of modern and contemporary African art. But there's a lot more where that came from.

Installation view,
Installation view, "Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection" at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection” at Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich
on view through December 23, 2019

What the Gallery SaysExpressions d’Afrique, curated by former curator of the Grand Palais Dr. Jérôme Neutres, presents for the first time in Switzerland a selection of works from this well-known collection, which spans a wide spectrum of artistic creation from the African continent and contains a diversity of forms of expression. The title of the exhibition is a playful reference to Raymond Roussel’s foundational text Impressions d’Afrique…. Today, this exhibition puts the focus on the ‘expressions’ of Africa created by the continent’s best artists over the last 30 years.”

Why It’s Worth a Look: When celebrity photographer and collector Jean Pigozzi donated a cache of 45 works by African artists to New York’s Museum of Modern Art back in July, it was described as the largest gift of African art the institution had ever received. Some of the pieces, culled from Pigozzi’s more than 10,000-work collection, make their triumphant debut in the newly expanded MoMA.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the show in Switzerland includes many of the artists whose work is on view in New York, but offers an even broader look at the diversity of Pigozzi’s trove. The display presents work by Beninese artist Romuald Hazoumè; Congolese painters Moké and Chéri Samba, who founded the Zaire School of Popular Painting based on their vibrant depictions of everyday scenes; and examples of Utopian Architecture by Bodys Isek Kingelez, who was the subject of a major retrospective at MoMA in 2018. The show also highlights the work of South African artist Esther Mahlangu and Senegalese sculptor Seni Awa Camara. As Africa’s buying power and institutional clout continue to grow, consider this show a primer on names you will be seeing a lot more in years to come.

What It Looks Like:

MOKE, <i>Nuit Chaude a la cite</I> (1999). Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

MOKE, Nuit Chaude a la cite (1999). Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, "Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection" at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, “Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection” at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Romuald Hazoumé, Claudia Maigre (2005). Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, "Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection" at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, “Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection” at Galerie Gmurzynska.

MOKE, Express Taxi populaire à Kinshasa (1990). Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

Pierre Bodo, <i>C'est mon choix</i> (2006). Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

Pierre Bodo, C’est mon choix (2006). Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, “Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection” at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Cheri Samba The Draughtsman, Cheri Samba, 9 September 1981. Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, "Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection" at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, “Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection” at Galerie Gmurzynska.

George Lilanga, Husbandry (1992). Photo courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, "Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection" at Galerie Gmurzynska.

Installation view, “Expressions d’Afrique–Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection” at Galerie Gmurzynska.

 


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