OUSMANE GUEYE, SCULPTOR



Born in 1956 in Sénégal
Ecole des Beaux Arts de Dakar
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts de Paris

Exhibitions

1975: Third Salon Sénégalese Artists, Musé:e Dynamique, Dakar

1979: Exhibition at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Paris

1980: Réalisation de Sculpture Monumentale in Dakar

1982: Africa Fête Exhibition, Paris; Graphico Plastique Exhibition, St Germain des près, ler Prix

1983: French Artists Exhibition, Anjou

1984: Exhibition at l'Academie Diplomatique International, Paris

1985: Exhibition at l'Ecole de Mauret, Fontainebleau, ler Prix; Figuration Critique, Grand Palais

1986: Sénégalese Cultural Week, Angers

1987: Exhibition at St-Martin du Bois, Anjou

1988: Exhibition at la Galerie NOTUNO,Genève; Promotion Galerie Berheim JEUNE, PARIS; Réalisation de la "Forêt Bleue", Anjou

1990: Exhibition at la Galene EST, Paris; Exhibition at Shiseido The Ginza Art Space, Tokyo

1991 Exhibition at Tokyo Art Expo; Exhibition at the home of Mr Jean Jacques Subrenat, Ministre-Conseiller of the French Ambassador to Japan, Tokyo; Exhibition at the French Institute, Tokyo

1992: Exhibition at Bunkamura Gallery, Tokyo; THIAS Exhibition in la Galerie KISHI, Osaka; American Club Exhibition, Tokyo; Exhibition at Casina, Japan; Uchida Yoko Gallery Exhibition

It would be nice if one day we were to see a long article tracing the life of Ousmane Gueye. There is already more than enough material to fill a thick catalog; one that would fully measure the variety and breadth of his work, one that would mark the stages of his life, that would reveal the secret unity of this throng of sculptures, and which would catch the vital impulse behind the man.

Let us reserve for this future catalog a list of main motifs: his childhood in Sénégal on the coastal strip around Dakar, a place of almost cosmic magnitude to this young sculptor, encouragement and support from a number of luminaries such as Dr. and Mrs. M'Baye Babakar N'Doye, or president Leopold Sedar Senghor; the tutelage of his elder masters (Etienne Martinm Cesar, jean Cardot); a spell in England at the Henry Moore Foundation; a period of studey in the school of the Fine Arts and at the Boulle School in Paris....

Whoever has seen Ousmane at work has been astonished by one remarkable thing: he does not work with anonymous and characterless squared-off blocks, but fashions objects that already hold inside a story known only to themselves. Before he ever became a sculptor, Ousmane was a collector of objects, just like a child who collects pebbles. Not for their intrinsic value, but because on one particular afternoon one such rock seemed to him to conceal a petrified life he felt compelled to liberate from its amorphous fate.

His studio is a spartan place, his makeshift workbench surrounded by simple tools: mallet, gouge, scraper, chisel, polisher. At his home in Soeurdres in Maine-et-Loire, where he progressively fills up his open-air museum dedicated to monumental sculpture, Ousmane can freely sculpt massive pieces torn from large trees. In Tokyo he has to work on the balcony of his apartment, exposed to the vagaries of the elements. He adapts his work to the circumstances in just the same way that the shape of his sculpture has alrady been predetermined, in his eyes, by the character of the piece of stone chosen, with its veins and rifts, its accidents.

Ousmane's sculpture is not at all anecdotal; it forces one to feel states of being; the vigilance of the big "Pink Head", the circular link between the three figures in his "Family", the amused but sacred tenderness in his "Maternity". Thus it is that the stone is stretched to the limits of its elasticity as if to allow his "Girl Bathing" to release herself completely.

Having reached this stage, Ousmane might have found it expedient to settle upon a particular motif, a particular design and a particular style of work for any kind of stone, then to adapt this tyle to the rhythm of his exhibitions, knowing that this would win for him the plaudits of the general public.

But, even if the same themes recur in his work, he is not locked in by the obligation to be Ousmane Gueye. In refusing to tie himself down to only one style, he avoids being mannered. And thus the women in his statuary are simply there, and can converse silently among themselves, bridged by an affinity that the artist has lent to them.

In these past two years, Ousmane has divided his time between Europe, Japan and the USA. He is detailing right now for his most long-term projects. At his house at Soeurdres, there wait for him stones from other wanderings, and fallen trees that beg to be brought back to life. And there is Sénégal, where Ousmane hopes to set up an art school and a museum of contemporary art devoted to the entire continet of Africa.

Here we present, soberly, some of the collected work of Ousmane Gueye. Soberly, I said, but be careful, because there meanates from these sculptures a quiet jubilation....

With special thanks to:
Jean-Jacques Subrenat
Ministre Conseiller Ambassade de France à Japon


The Work of Ousmane Gueye
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