From September 14 to November 25, Fondation H will be presenting Pensées du tremblement [Trembling Thinkings], a solo exhibition by Malian artist Ange Dakouo.

With Pensées du tremblement, Ange Dakouo conceives a space protected from the crisis-stricken world.

To achieve this, he produces tapestries from what he calls “woven grigris”, which are cardboard briquettes made of newspaper, skillfully tiedtogether with cotton thread as in textile arts. This is the central motif ofhis work, which he reproduces ad infinitum. Like El Anatsui before him, Ange Dakouo sets himself apart by the lightness of a draped effect produced from collected recycled materials. By specifically suggesting silhouettes of traditional Malian costumes, the artist redoubles the relationship his work has with corporality, already evident in the accumulation of amulets, worn for protection. The manufacture of grigris is directly inspired by amulets for infants he observed during a research project he carried out between 2015 and 2018 among Mali’s Donso hunters, a brotherhood who strives to protect the ancestral memories and spiritual knowledge of their territory.

Through the reference to this community of men who promotes cohesion between individuals and with their environment, Ange Dakouo holds out the possibility of a place of mutual protection and transmission between his work and the public.

His tapestries, which are sometimes wall sculptures, sometimes immersive installations, are permeated by an eminently pictorial dimension. Following the suggestion of Abdoulaye Konaté, his former thesis advisor at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia in Bamako, to “workwith shades”,  Ange Dakouo has been since producing cameo compositions similar to flat areas of color on a canvas. When workingwith raw newspaper, the artist creates gradient effects by varying the density of ink on the selected paper. In memory of his printer father, who came home every evening with piles of publications, the words printed on the paper are for the artist a set of cryptic dotted lines, whose meaning can only be grasped through a sensory experience with the object.

The works forming this exhibition thus seem to mark a turning point in the artist’s practice. In addition to a tapestry of woven grigris, Ange Dakouo also produced two other pieces at the end of his creative residency, whose detours and variations on the usual motif reinforce the powerand relevance of his gesture.  

Oscillating mainly from beige to black, the wise palette ofthe series entitled Kulekanw – “The screams” in Malian Bambara – features a spot of red paint on each piece: a gaping wound, a pointer indicating a position or a destination on an illegible map, this spot calls for vigilance acrisis-stricken, trembling world whose future can only be secured by collective reflections against the abuse of power and the pursuit of unbridled profit. Producing trembling thinkings means above all calling for the rejection of oppressive and inoperative ideologies in our troubled contexts in order to open up the possibilities of a world at peace in which individuals, cultures and nations are diverse yet unified. The altered borrowing of Edouard Glissant’s formula –which evoked a single trembling thinking – alludes to Ange Dakouo’s trial and error thoughts approach and the role of the audience in the pursuit of his enterprise.

The first variation in the series is a fire-blackened plywood tapestry bound with wire, an ambiguous allusion to the consequences of global political instability and the opportunity to wipe the slate clean. The second variation, which is the major installation in the exhibition, refers more directly to cartography. Using a planisphere of some kind, the artist creates mask-like human faces from the rough outlines of the world’s countries. The cardboard skeleton is covered with dried papier-mâché which the artist assembled as per his habit. Grimacing Siamese figures or figures of the damned, they are the embodiment of the interdependence of nations in the survival or extinction of humanity. Weaving peoples, weaving individuals, weaving souls, Ange Dakouo opens up, through the opacity of his composite tapestries, the possibility of turning the ruins of as hattered world into the ground for happy revolutions.

Virginia Quadjovie


Ange Dakouo, born in 1990, is a Malian artist who graduated from the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia in Bamako in 2017. He is one of the founders of the Tim’Art collective, with whom he exhibits regularly. Ange Dakouo is inspired by the world and costumes of Mali’s traditional hunters, which represent a sanctuary of authenticity and protected knowledge. They are also worth protecting and banish the dangers of life. The concept of his work, the grigri, is inspired from newspaper folding, in memory of his father who was a printer and cotton thread bounding, endlessly tied and reproduced.