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Exhibition March 11 - 30, 2022
Opening Thursday, March 10, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
11 rue Michel le Comte - 75003 Paris

INFORMATION
 

TESPRIT - THE INVISIBLES  

Exhibition from March 11 to 30, 2022

Opening on March 10, 2022 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Mathilde M. Le Coz Gallery  

11 rue Michel Le Comte - 75003 PARIS  

Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  

and by appointment

Impossible to escape the faceless children staring at us. For his first exhibition in Europe, the young Togolese artist Foli Kossi Gérard Tete aka Tesprit, presents at gallery Mathilde M. Le Coz Les invisibles (The Invisibles), his latest series of works on the street children of Togo, the dzimakplao, literally “ uneducated children” in Mina, the vehicular language of southern Togo.

 

The artist's practice begins outside, in the streets of Lomé, meeting these children whose everyday life he captures (begging, playing, collecting abandoned objects, etc.), and in the city dumps where he gleans the material that characterises and determines his work: used flip-flops and beach sandals. Starting from snapshots taken in the field, the artist associates in his works documentary image and recycling. When he sources the rubber soles, his gestures  even superimpose those of the children he represents. The flip-flops, practical and inexpensive sandals, are moreover named after those who wear them - dzimakplao, “uneducated children” - the signifier of the work then merging completely with the signified.

 

During the transition from photography to carving and gluing the pieces of soles on the canvas, Tesprit operates a radical simplification of the image. The background is made uniform by a grid or by the repetition of a  pattern while the framing is tightened on the models (rarely more than three). The portrait is drawn at shoulder height, sometimes full length, always from the front - without a face. Tesprit sculpts silhouettes masked by a patchwork of soles that simultaneously conceals and universalises his subjects. These children, Kokou, Mokpokpor or Dzifa, who live on the margins of their community and society are the invisible of Lomé as well as the invisible elsewhere. Their heads are turned towards us, they call out in silence, stare without looking - and in turn, we look at them.  

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