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Like a sound poem extracted from an entire song by Nicolas Guillén, Habdaphaï’s plastic work evokes sensations. Not just any sensation. The multitude of pictorial and graphic experiences, artifacts, ready-made, installations, videos, performances, choreographies, whether permanent, dedicated to the art market or ephemeral, invoke a Caribbean, a universe of sounds, smells, imbued with the “look back, a dream of childhood” that the reserved artist would prefer as “small” and only “sometimes”. As if Habdaphaï’s entire creative gesture could be contained, restrained, controlled by the social order, Cartesian thought, manufactured and imposed modernity. As if the horizon, in its circular immensity, determined the scale of dreams and experience.

Since Habdaphaï’s protean work escapes any doctrine, any desire to be bound and therefore any type of classification, this resistance to categorization disturbs the doctrines of contemporary Caribbean art. In fact, it is not only an unclassifiable corpus made by a free and self-taught artist, registered in opposition to academic institutions. But still, the whole work raises the feelings of a past that we would like to have dreamed of. A buried past. A scattered memory. Litany of “lost to sight”.

From today, presenting a retrospective look at Habdaphaï’s visual creations introduces multiple risks, that of contempt for the essential part of the work, that of giving in to the seductive grip of accumulations, of privileging the artist’s abundance, generosity, productivity, hyperactivity and creativity to the surface, to the detriment of the sensitive uniqueness of his “whole song.”

Fondation Clément

Habitation Clément

97240 Le François, Martinique



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