By Rajesh Punj*, London based art critic, correspondent and curator, extract of "Pangaea II, African and Latin American Art in Saatchi Gallery", April 2015, in Africanah.org, Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art
Highlights include Paris based, Martinique born Jean-Franҫois Boclé’s plastic bag installation Tout doit disparaître!/Everything Must Go (2014), which is testament to an incredibly beautiful aesthetic; industrial in scale. Depositing some 97,000 clinically coloured plastic bags into an elongated carpet like setting, Boclé’s work reads as much like a theatrical seascape, as it might appear as a monument to consumerism. The intense disarray of thousands of plastic bags tightly pressed one upon another proves hauntingly attractive, for the artist’s perfection for moulding this emerging submarine styled shape onto the floor of the gallery. As the intoxicating blue appears to positively draw an audience into the first gallery. Conjuring one’s perverse pleasure into wanting to physically lay down on the work, and effectively becoming entirely consumed by thousands of agents of consumerism. Such desired intervention though is a distraction from the greater politics of Boclé’s practice. As he is preoccupied with the burden of capitalism and post-colonial history. As they serve as narratives for the basis of his work. Tout doit disparaître!/Everything Must Go is a playful but incredibly poignant homage to the lives lost at sea during the transatlantic slave trade. And in magnifying a disposable plastic bag by sheer numbers, Boclé appears to want to draw attention to the complexities of modern history. As the connotations of consumption and exchange become the sub-plots from which he understands the original ills of colonialism.
* Rajesh Punj is a London based art critic, correspondent and curator, with a special interest in Asia and the Middle East. He has an academic background in European and American art history and curating from Warwick University, (UK), and Goldsmiths College, (UK), respectively; has on-going research and a related volume of interviews; with leading international artists, designers, curators, film-makers and photographers, due for publication in 2016. Regularly commissioned by international publications and gallerists, including Saatchi Gallery, (London), Flash Art International, (Milan), Deutsche Bank Art Mag, (Berlin), Art Paper, (Beirut), ARC, (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Elephant, (London), Art Zip, (Beijing, London), and Asian Art newspaper (London), among others. He has written extensively on the emerging markets, and has also curated internationally. Previously working with artists Andrea Zittel (USA), Anish Kapoor, (UK), Monica Bonvicini, (ITA), David Goldblatt (SA), Simon Patterson, (UK), Julian Opie, (UK), and Jake and Dinos Chapman, (UK), among others
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