November 5 – January 15, 2023
Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago
THE FALL: AWA AND ADAMA
Mariane Ibrahim is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of Italian-Senegalese artist Maïmouna Guerresi, entitled The Fall: Awa and Adama. The exhibition will be on view in Chicago from November 5 – December 23, 2022.
In Maïmouna Guerresi’s works the viewer is nudged toward a metaphysical realm; A suspended reality, balanced between the breath of the human and the divine, where time has yet to originate. In this atemporal place light is extinguished with the fall of the human, setting the stage for the primigenial subjects Guerresi exquisitely portrays. The characters are sculptural figures, literally and figuratively, that recount the original myth, shared by the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, through their poses and gestures.
In the series, the primordial story unfolds through the three-dimensionality of the sculptural practice and the two-dimensionality of the photographic medium – two praxis in deep communion in the artist’s sublime poetics. A complementarity that has been made even more explicit in the dialogue between “Hishma” and “The Expulsion from Paradise”. This latter work, a sculptural installation inspired by Masaccio’s homonymous painting, consists of a series of hands molded in white resin, whose gestures evoke those of Awa and Adama (Eve and Adam). In the photograph, the two giants are turned away, with their faces hidden, as they contain themselves in shame.
Enfolded in fine draperies, the monumental bodies of the common ancestors (or, to quote Pap Khouma, “the sunuy maam”) stand out against the darkness of each Edenic background. The darkness seems to presage not only an imminent fall, but a condemnation. This existential nature, which then becomes the ontological condition of the human, also takes the shape of the black clouds tethered to Awa with a string. Gazing upward, the sculpture seems to live in the pensiveness of decline, in the confines of this limitedness.
The Fall: Awa and Adama is not only the story of “the origin” but is also the point from which Guerresi probes the hidden harmony of the human. A journey, unfolding within the quiet of her interior, that becomes a light on the echoes of primordial mysteries. “Are the gates of Paradise not open?” two faceless sculptures ask. The question is rhetorical, it sounds like an invitation. The angelic beings take us by the hand. We pass through the darkness and enter with them.
Text by writer, visual researcher, and artist, Theophilus Imani.