ABOUT SOLY CISSÉ
Soly Cissé lives and works in Dakar. He graduated in 1996 from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Dakar, where he trained as a draughtsman, painter and a sculptor. Cissé is an admirer of Bacon and Basquiat whose ghosts and shadows reveal organic forms, metamorphic creatures and dysfunctional worlds. Cissé has exhibited extensively worldwide and is considered one of Africa’s brightest talents showing at the Biennale’s in Dakar, Havana and Brazil.
“Wandering through the artistic world of Soly Cissé is rather like taking the risk of travelling in an unknown universe. The shadow of a doubt begins to creep into the spectator’s mind. His work is unique and it is impossible to place it in a reassuring context.
Figures which may be discerned do not comply with any definitions. Everything in his work is unsettling and even slightly disturbing. Yet, upon closer scrutiny, his art reveals itself to be captivating in the true sense of the word. Cissé does not insist on making consistent references to his original culture, even though this may sometimes filter through by way of a carnival content (for example, men wearing impressive, superb animal masks – unless these are in fact hybrid beings emerging from centuries back). But he does not proclaim himself as a fundamentally “African” creator: his experience embraces a much more extensive environment.
Soly Cissé’s works of art are imbued with great poetry which has a paradoxical content. However, this can only emerge if one indispensable condition is met: that he does not reproduce standardised approaches. Nothing is conventional in his work. He does not paint images, but tries to render fleeting and vibrant moments tangible; moments which provide the raw material for his pictorial research which, strictly speaking, is neither European or African (and even less a forced and, as a result, false, synthesis of the two). Cissé freely helps himself from both in order to fuel the wealth of his internal, unique and fascinating realm, where illusions becomes reality and where reality, whatever that may be, becomes illusion.” Gérard-Georges Lemaire