Aboudia Abidjan, Ivory Coast, b. 1983

 

 

 

Aboudia is noted for his large-scale, heavily layered, brutally energetic paintings that combine an innocence and spontaneity with the portrayal of a dark interior world. Since the Ivorian civil war in 2011, his urban landscapes have been haunted by trauma; armed soldiers, ominous skulls and a populace hemmed in by danger. Recent work continues to grapple with the hardships of life on the streets and the social inequalities of downtown Abidjan. Often claustrophobic and oppressive, his painting achieves a careful balance between pathos and aggression. While the vitality of his style recalls Basquiat, the darker undercurrents and themes describe a battlefield straight out of Goya.

 

Aboudia is also a master of multi-layered imagery, referencing characters from his direct neighbourhood, local ‘Nouchi’ street culture and homage to more traditional forms of Vodou. Enigmatic details come in and out of focus, often only revealing themselves after several viewings. His expression of revolt and explosive, incendiary life in his everyday urban environment brings to mind artists from the great American tradition - Twombly perhaps in his casual-looking execution, and Dubuffet. Aboudia's unrestrained use of violent figuration is a welcome reminder of the power of paint to suggest the chaos of life.

 

Aboudia's work has been exhibited at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Nevada Museum, Royal Academy Summer Show 2017 and Saatchi Gallery among others.