27.08.21 - 29.08.21

NıCOLETTı presents Unknown Aquazone, a solo exhibition by Josèfa Ntjam (1992, Metz). Comprising photomontage, sculpture and a video installation, Ntjam’s presentation responds to the context of the Mediterranean region by exploring the sea as a zone of political disturbance and utopian burgeoning.


The exhibition features a new series of photomontages deriving from the visuals that Ntjam created to cover the surface of a monumental aquarium commissioned by the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, for the exhibition Anticorps (2020-21). Addressing questions of memory, History and fiction, the Unknown Aquazone series weaves narratives drawn from mythology and the struggle for independence in Africa – e.g. the Senegalese ritual of Kankurang or the Cameroonian writer and activist Marthe Ekemeyang Moumié – with motifs evoking organisms living in the abyss.


Ntjam’s photomontages are paired with ceramic sculptures representing hybrid plants and aquatic deities such as Mami Wata – a voodoo figure and fish-woman divinity venerated in much of Africa. Exploring concepts of fluidity and becoming, Ntjam’s sculptures conjure metamorphic beings which unsettle the modes of classifications of species at the origin of hegemonic discourses on identity and race in Western cultures.

Ntjam pursues a similar reflection in Myceaqua Vitae, a film telling the story of a bioluminescent organism falling from space and giving birth to the ocean. Blurring the lines between science and fiction, Ntjam’s film complements a display contemplating the role of mythology and utopia in contemporary politics of emancipation.