Quenum, Gérard
Born 1971 in Porto-Novo, Benin
Lives and works in Porto-Novo, Benin
Quenum’s work is instantly recognisable due to his signature use of discarded doll parts and found objects, which create witty yet haunting ‘portraits’. Quenum uses aged dolls which he reconfigures into evocative assemblages. The sculptor’s ability lies in his story telling, engaging the imaginative faculties by transporting the viewer into an alternate reality transcending time and space. The wooden objects he chooses – mortars, ritual drums or pilings that once supported entire houses in the marshy lagoons surrounding Porto-Novo, also have unique histories. The woods are impregnated with inherited stories, their roughened surfaces bespeaking the lives of many, concealing alternate worlds and other experiences entirely. Through his sculptures Quenum fulfils his main task to ‘act as a messenger’.
Gérard Quenum, Japonaise (Japanese Woman), 2009, Wood and plastic doll, 231 x 26 x 26. Courtesy October Gallery |Gérard Quenum, 'La Cour du Roi', 2013, Acrylic on canvas, 130 x 170 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Art Twenty One