Art Twenty One (Art21Lagos) is a space and platform dedicated to contemporary art in Lagos, Nigeria and it will showcase works by Francois – Xavier Gbrè (b.1978, France) starting from November 15th 2014.
Francois-Xavier Gbré‘s photographic projects explore his interest in urban space and architecture as a metaphor for social memory. Executed in diverse locales including Porto Novo, Bamako, Tiberias, and Lomé, Gbré engages the built environment as a testament to its local inhabitants and their histories. Gbre’s work focuses on former spaces of public consumption, including recreational facilities such as swimming pools, hippodromes, hotels, and theaters.
In other series, he documents the remnants of colonial power and infrastructure, from governor’s offices to national printing presses. Balancing his gaze between the micro and the macro, Gbré captures the minute details of the architecture, with its rusted ladders, eroded concrete, and faded signs. He also creates elaborate but vacant photographic tableaus, showcasing decaying grand cast-iron stairwells and empty parlour rooms. Now stripped to their bare foundations and void of human presence, these structures speak to the complex history of their former functions. Transforming these spaces into a rhythmic harmony of geometry and patterns, Gbré illuminates how the stains, cracks, and wear and tear speak to the relationship between the past and present. Abroad will also include Gbré’s newest photographic series in Lagos as he looks at urban development and the construction of new futures.