Armand Boua (b. 1978) lives and works in the Ivory Coast. He is currently showcased in the Saatchi Gallery exhibition Pangaea 2: New Art from Africa and Latin America. He has also exhibited numerous times in his home country, as well as in Sweden, Morocco and in two solo exhibitions in the Jack Bell Gallery, London. Boua takes the street kids of his hometown Abidjan as the subject for his portraits of urban life. The violence that followed the disputed Ivorian presidential election in late 2010 greatly influenced his work. As the conflict escalated, many children were separated from their families amidst the political turmoil that enveloped Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s sprawling capital.
Laurence Stephen Lowry, R.A. (1887-1976), Going to Work. Oil on canvas Estimate: £700,000-1,000,000. This work will be offered in our Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale on 25 June at Christie’s in London
Tancredi Massimo di Roccasecca, co-curator and Christie’s specialist: The comparisons between Armand Boua’s work and that of L.S Lowry are obvious for all to see. With both artists we see a genuine hunger to represent the gritty aspects of city life and urban living, rendering the subjects virtually anonymous in their representations. Whereas Boua gives us raw, semi-abstract human forms from the streets of his native city of Abidjan, Lowry paints equally anonymous yet fairly detailed individuals moving like ants through the urban scenes of England’s industrial north. Both artists are trying to capture a specific socio-economic moment in a place that is specific to them and the generational and geographical gap means nothing to the subject matter.
David Teniers II (Antwerp 1610-1690 Brussels), A village kermesse near Antwerp. Oil on copper. Estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000. This work will be offered in our Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale on 9 July at Christie’s in London
Milo Dickinson, co-curator and Christie’s specialist: Like Teniers over three centuries before him, Armand Boua depicts the neglected and poorest aspects of society. We see in both perspectives on a different way of life, an outsider’s viewpoint that contains a message to those looking in. Boua's work is a call for help amidst the political upheaval in his home country. Teniers' painting exemplifies a more paternalistic attitude to his subject, offering a positive viewpoint on the social bonds that hold society together. In Teniers, the Arcadian spirit dominates; humanity and nature seem to have been fused by his fine palette in an evocatively idyllic moment. Boua, meanwhile, has abandoned the traditional medium of oil and canvas in favour of tar, acrylic and salvaged cardboard to draw attention back to the hardships of these lives.
Sigmar Polke, Untitled, 1994. Acrylic and dispersion on canvas. This work will be offered in our Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 30 June at Christie’s in London
Bianca Chu, co-curator and Christie’s specialist: Both Sigmar Polke and Armand Boua blur the lines of abstraction and figuration in their cityscapes. Polke’s signature raster dot technique combined with the fluid washes of colour in Untitled reveal a carnival-esque scene of celebration and movement. Boua, meanwhile, employs spontaneous and coarse brushwork to show the frenetic energy of street life in the Ivory Coast. The depiction of urban life is a subject which has its roots in Modernist tradition, each artist interpreting it in their own unique style. Polke’s Untitled makes reference to the Captialist Realist style which dominated the 1960s. In contrast, Boua’s subject has more humble origins, using daily life of children in his native country as the subject matter. In both works, the artists present scenes of metropolitan life, elevating the ordinary and the everyday.
Main image at top: Armand Boua (b.1978), Untitled, 2014. Tar and acrylic on cardboard. 162 x 188cm. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Bell Gallery, London
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