in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, Massamba was confronted with
the civil war that tore apart his country. Gastineau explores
a universe of violence, chaos and pain, deep traces of which
can still be seen today. He doesnt use paint, but burns,
cuts and embroiders huge canvases or linen to create images
of incredible force.
s stark depiction of armed soldiers atop a mountain of
skeletons bears witness to unspeakable human suffering. The
re-occurring motif of the skull suggests a will to tame the
forces of evil, his art making process rewriting the real and
transcending horror and trauma. The skull image also makes reference
to more traditional forms of vodou practiced in his home country.
The Okapi is a native animal to Central Africa, an endangered
species with a precarious existence. As a national icon the
Okapi stands on a background of lettering drawn from playing
cards, symbols that point to histories of colonialism and cultural
Massamba was born in 1973 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
He lives and works in Paris, France.
Jack Bell Gallery