The Art Committee is pleased to invite you on a guided tour at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art on February 6. At the end of January, the Museum opens a great exhibition with contemporary African art, which will display the originality and diversity of seventeen African artists living and working in sub-Saharan Africa.
Alpha Crucis is the brightest star in the constellation of the Southern Cross, located in the Milky Way. It is one of the most visible in the night sky and indicates the direction of the South. As such, it is often used by navigators; however, the star is only visible in the southern hemisphere. For that reason, it was not mentioned in European antique astronomy.
This exhibition at Astrup Fearnley Museet gathers seventeen artists from seven African countries – a constellation of artists from the South, made visible to northern eyes. Stars in the sky are not connected to each other; they are associated in constellations and given names by astronomers. Here, the curator acts like an astronomer, ordering the cosmos to give coherence to works of art that offer a certain reading of the world.
The seventeen artists originate from numerous countries, belong to different generations and have very diverse practices. But, what they all have in common as Africans is their ability to see Alpha Crucis. Is their work a symbol of hope for a pan-African utopia, in which – despite antagonisms – all African countries 8
look towards the same southern guiding light and do not need to look north when making their art?
The title Alpha Crucis advocates a reorientation of a polarised art world towards the south, to fight the ignorance of matters African that has endured too long and to shed new light on a vibrant contemporary African art.
The curator André Magnin (b. 1952 in Vesoul, France) is an independent curator and researcher who started working on non-western contemporary art in 1989, debuting with the historic exhibition Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Pompidou and at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, an exhibition that he co-curated. From 1989 until 2009, Magnin ran the Pigozzi Collection,based in Geneva, which focused on sub-Saharan African contemporary art. He later founded MAGNIN-A, which promotes contemporary African art to the international market.