STEVENSON is pleased to present Before It Is Completely Gone, a solo exhibition by Thierry Oussou, his first with the gallery.
Described as a ‘social archaeologist’, Oussou combines his immediate context with accumulated personal experiences to craft probing yet poetic commentary with a global perspective. In this exhibition, the artist focuses on the intersecting uncertainties of the South African and Beninese present to imagine the strategies necessary in creating a better future.
In addition to works on paper created from ink, acrylic and oil-bar, Oussou will present three-dimensional installations made from materials found in Johannesburg through chance and exploration. In his handling of detritus, acquired without premeditative action, the artist seeks to steep himself in specificity as the means to observe broader cultural currents.
Considering contemporary debates around decoloniality, cultural preservation and ethical consumption – debates rooted in reorganising the present with the aim of seeing change in the future - Oussou invites an immersive observation and questioning of the present as the means to understand our current flux and imagined futures.
In a 2015 interview with Inga Lace, Oussou remarked:
I agree that changes should happen, but I have a desire to document the vanishing before it is completely gone, to keep the trace of the tradition, the imprint of the past in the future. Forgetting and not being aware of your own history can also be used as a tool of manipulation by politicians, thus I also feel there is a need to save some things just for the sake of knowing.
Oussou was born in 1988 in Allada, Benin, where he founded the art studio Yè; he continues to give workshops on arts and visual culture in schools and cultural institutions across Benin. He has participated in residencies at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2015), and Dokoutin, Brussels (2014), and exhibited at the Dakar Biennale in 2014.
The exhibition opens on Saturday 3 February, 10am to 1pm.