didier Claes is marking its artistic return and Brussels Gallery Weekend by staging a solo show of the work of the celebratedBelgian/Beninese artistFabrice Monteiro. Having started out in fashion, Monteiro decided to move behind the lens and retrace his origins through photography. In each of his series, he uses the portrait – his favored form of expression – to raise a major issue besetting Africa and tackles it through the prism of identity.
Claes is marking its artistic return and Brussels Gallery Weekend by staging a solo show of the work of the celebrated Belgian/Beninese artist Fabrice Monteiro. Having started out in fashion, Monteiro decided to move behind the lens and retrace his origins through photography. In each of his series, he uses the portrait – his favoured form of expression – to raise a major issue besetting Africa and tackles it through the prism of identity. His latest work is The 8 Mile Wall, which explores the stereotypes constructed during the era of slavery and colonial rule. The series is inspired by a conversation he had with his father when he was still a child, when he became aware of a fact of life at the time: that the only way a Black man could be treated as an equal and with respect in Europe was to wear a three-piece suit. The artist chose to deconstruct this subconscious way of thinking, which can be triggered by aesthetic details, such as clothing or accessories.
The idea for the title 8 Mile Wall came following contemplation of a concrete wall of the same name in Detroit, also known as Detroit’s Wailing Wall, Berlin Wall and The Birwood Wall. Some 1.8 metres high and 30cm thick, it runs for 0.8km south from 8 Mile Road to Pembroke Avenue, through the back yards of houses on Birwood and Mendota streets. It was built in 1941 to keep Black and White homeowners apart on the basis of their race. Though not particularly high or very long, and though it runs through several streets, it clearly indicated that Black people would not be welcome to build or live on one side of it. The wall symbolises the psychological barriers deliberately erected since slavery to incite racial discrimination.
The work The 8 Mile Wall encourages a “double reading” and through which the artist transposes the complex heritage of his history and his genes. The relationship between Africa and Europe can be felt in the images, a relationship that has always veered between curiosity and rejection, responsibility and denial, and recognition and anger. Through his photography, Fabrice Monteiro seeks both to deconstruct the stereotypes of the “Black” image that have long featured in the media and, above all, to offer up something new to unsettle the spectator.
“Here, “blackface” is not shown grinning, teeth showing, and rolling marbles. He holds himself with dignity as a symbol of mental oppression, issuing a call to reason, a challenge to break with discrimination once and for all, with the “inferiorisation” of his fellow beings.”
Exhibitions & Events from didier Claes
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About didier Claes
Didier Claes is a Belgian gallerist, specialised in African art. For the last ten years, his gallery has offered exceptional pieces through diverse exhibition themes. Noticed by his atypical professional journey as well as his exceptional discovered pieces since the beginning of his career, Didier Claes counts today among the best ancient African art specialists. His gallery takes part in important Belgian gatherings (BRAFA, Bruneaf) as well as being involved on an international scale (Parcours des Mondes, TEFAF Maastricht, FRIEZE) regarding his specialty.
didier Claes Opening Hours
DURING BGW : Thu 11 am > 9 pm Fri - Sat 11am - 7pm - Sun 11am - 6pm OTHER Lundi : 10h à 13h / 14h à 17h Mardi au Samedi - 10h à 13h / 14h à 18h