Tic-Tac, time goes on in tune. hurry, from now on we must be constellation, intangible, neither transparent nor translucent, but overflowing […] They, we, you, I, no pronoun can hold us.
Josèfa Ntjam, I am nameless, 2020
Josèfa Ntjam is an artist, performer and writer whose practice combines sculpture, photomontage, film and sound. Gleaning the raw material of her work from the internet and books on natural sciences, Ntjam uses assemblage – of images, words, sounds, and stories – as a method to deconstruct the grand narratives underlying hegemonic discourses on origin, identity and race. Her work weaves multiple narratives drawn from investigations into historical events, scientific functions, or philosophical concepts, to which she confronts references to African mythology, ancestral rituals, religious symbolism and science-fiction. These apparently heterogeneous discourses and iconographies are marshaled together in an effort to re-appropriate History while speculating on not-yet-determined space-times – interstitial worlds where systems of perception and naming of fixed (id)entities no longer operate. From there, Ntjam composes utopian cartographies and ontological fictions in which technological fantasy, intergalactic voyages and hypothetical underwater civilizations become the matrix for a practice of emancipation that promotes the emergence of inclusive, processual and resilient communities.
Josèfa Ntjam was born in 1992 in Metz, France, and currently lives and works in Saint-Étienne, France. She studied in Amiens, France, Dakar, Senegal (Cheikh Anta Diop University) and graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art, Bourges, France (2015), and the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art, Paris-Cergy, France (2017).
Solo and duo exhibitions include Underground Resistance – Living Memories, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK, as part of Open Space, a programme of Augmented Reality (AR) developed for Soho Photography Quarter; and we’ll kill them with love, CAC La Traverse, Alfortville, FR (2022); Molecular Genealogies, NıCOLETTı, London, UK (2021) and Allegoria, duo show with Kaeto Sweeney, Hordaland Art Center, Bergen, NO (2019).
Ntjam’s work and performances have been shown in international museums and exhibitions, including Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL (performance, 2022); MAMC – Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etienne, FR (2022); Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, USA (2022); Radius CCA, Delft, NL (2022); Mucem, Marseille, FR; Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, PT, and Africamuseum, Tervuren, BE (2021–22); Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA, Bordeaux, FR (2021), MuCAT – Musée des Cultures Contemporaines Adama Toungara, Abidjan, IC (2022); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR (2020–21); Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR (2020); WIELS, Brussels, BE (2020); MAMA, Rotterdam, NE (2020); the 15th Biennale de Lyon, MAC Lyon, Lyon, FR (2019); and Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2019).
Upcoming exhibitions include Les Portes du possible. Art & science-fiction, Centre Pompidou, Metz, FR (2022), and a solo show at FACT, Liverpool (2022–23).
Ntjam is a member of Paris-based art & research collective Black(s) to the Future (https://blackstothefuture.com/).
Ntjam’s work is part of a number of public collections, including Fonds d’art contemporain – Paris Collections, FR; Fondation Villa Datris, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, FR; FRAC MECA Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bordeaux, FR; FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, FR; FRAC Alsace, Sélestat, FR; EIB Institute, Luxemburg; and Artothèque de Strasbourg, FR.