Josèfa Ntjam11.10.23 - 15.10.23
For Frieze London 2023, NıCOLETTı presents a solo exhibition of new works by French artist Josèfa Ntjam.
Spanning sculpture, photomontage, film and performance, Ntjam’s practice revisits colonial history in light of natural processes, mythology and science-fiction. Her presentation at Frieze London, entitled Deep Sea Teller, features four photomontages printed on LamaLi paper and covered with flowers, rice husks, mushrooms, pigments and resin, accompanied by a diptych of photomontages printed on aluminium. Combining representations of African deities, portraits of political dissidents – such as Elisabeth Djouka, a fighter and member of the Union of People of Cameroon (UPC) – and microscopic views of aquatic plants, Ntjam’s photomontages conjure an oceanic imaginary wherein the artist speculates on the interconnectedness between natural and historical processes, invoking the fluidity of water and the resilience of natural organisms as models for human tactics of resistance and emancipation.
Ntjam’s photomontages are accompanied by a sculpture from the Hydrozoa Collectiva series. Composed of ceramic sculptures strung on sailing ropes, this group of work is inspired by Siphonophores, a marine specimen made of multiple species living in cooperation, scientifically defined as ‘colonial organism’. While the ceramic’s bulbous shapes suggest the polymorphous animals that constitute siphonophores, the nautical ropes evoke the traumatic heritage of the Middle Passage—the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean –, conflating two antithetical definitions of ‘colonialism’: one related to human history, pointing to extraction and oppression, the other to natural history, indicating modes of cooperation and subsistence.
This presentation won the FLUXUS/CPGA Prize.