Lévy Gorvy Dayan is thrilled to announce its first New York exhibition with Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté, opening January 16, 2024, at the gallery’s landmark Beaux-Arts-style townhouse. Abdoulaye Konaté: Lune bleue presents richly chromatic, monumental works that unite investigations of form and color with symbolic references drawn from a wealth of sources in West Africa and beyond. Introducing nine new works alongside the titular composition Lune bleue, theexhibition marks the artist’s first presentation in New York since 2019.
Abdoulaye Konaté: Lune bleue continues the artist’s longstanding exploration of the textile medium. Based in Bamako, Mali, Konaté works with locally produced cotton. He selects fabrics that are then cut, sown, and assembled—each strip acting as a single brushstroke—into large-scale symphonic compositions that probe the intersections of materiality, structure, and tone. The artist also often includes stitched and woven appliqués, borrowed from a broad lexicon of symbols and emblems encountered throughout his life or during his travels and personal research.
The exhibition takes its title from Lune bleue (2019), one of Konaté’s largest works on view and a highlight from his solo survey at the 2022 Dakar Biennale. Distinguished by subtle graduations of blue, the work’s central round form evokes Konaté’s childhood memories of the moon reflected in Lake Faguibine—a lake that today is nearly dry, resulting in the collapse of the local ecosystem. Blue is a significant color for the artist, representing personal sensations as well as the inspiration he has found in, for example, the hues of fabrics worn by the Tuareg people of the Sahara. Conjuring the depths of the night sky, Lune bleue comprises an homage to memory and nature while recalling the disastrous effects of climate change.
Konaté’s new works are inspired by his recent travels through West and North Africa—and invoke a range of motifs and colors found in the architecture, sculpture, textiles, and ceramics of Mali, Cameroon, Niger, Morocco, and Tunisia. Exploring the aesthetic possibilities of each form and impression that he employs, Konaté’s contemporary abstract language is deeply rooted in traditions of craftsmanship and artistic creation. Poetically merging the personal and the collective, his evocative textile works encapsulate and convey the presence of individual and shared perception, and the histories of material commemoration and expression.
About the artist ~ Abdoulaye Konaté was born in 1953 in Diré, Mali. He trained as a painter at the Institut National des Arts, Bamako, and at the Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana, in the 1970s and 1980s. The artist currently lives and works in Bamako.
Konaté creates intricate compositions of colorful fabrics, using methods of dyeing and stitching inspired by traditional forms of craftsmanship in Mali. Through striking iconography, abstract patterns, and color gradations, the artist highlights contemporary sociopolitical concerns as well as a wide range of subjects encountered through his travels and personal research. At the core of Konaté’s practice is a celebration of peoples and cultures, mining the past and the present to form his singular visual language. Balancing the formal and the symbolic, he creates panoramic compositions that disclose an emblematic representation of the world and of current events, while foregrounding the tranquil beauty of color and shape.
In 2004, Konaté founded the city’s Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasséké Kouyaté, a higher education institution providing artistic and professional training in the fields of visual arts, music, and dance. Additionally, he is a founding member and serves on the board of the Fonds Africain pour la Culture, which provides support to individuals working in the creative industries and furthers professionalization of the sector.
He has recently exhibited at Talan L’Expo, Tunis (2023); 14th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2023); 14th Dakar Biennale, Senegal (2022); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town (2020); 57th Venice Biennale (2017); and Arken Museum of Contemporary Art, Ishøj, Denmark (2016). His works are in the collections of major international institutions, including Musée National du Mali, Bamako; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In 2009, Konaté was awarded the Ordre National du Mali. He has also received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France (2002) and the Léopold Sédar Senghor Prize at the Dakar Biennale (1996).
Abdoulaye Konaté: Lune bleue will open on January 16th with an Opening Reception from 6-8pm. Lévy Gorvy Dayan is located at 19 East 64th Street, NYC.
Take a look back to last year when the artist, Abdoulaye Konaté was part of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Google Arts & Culture launch of ‘Mali Magic’ as a participant in Instruments4Africa, a nonprofit organized to reinforce traditional music and arts in West Africa.