Hervé Youmbi: Totems to Haunt Our Dreams



 Axis Gallery in association with SPARCK & submergedart presents:

Hervé Youmbi
“Totems to Haunt our Dreams.”
 April 29 – May 26, 2011 

Opening reception: Friday April 29, 2011 6-9 pm. The artist will be in attendance.
9 PM- Music performances on the 3rd floor (see line-up below).
Presented by NJstreetKLAN + Weekind Warriors + submergedart

In his first solo in the US, Hervé Youmbi features his variable installation entitled “Totems to Haunt our Dreams,” in which he juxtaposes photographic portraits of his artist friends—mostly African—and soft-sculpture columns made from stacked plastic, trader-travel bags, each branded with an art-world icon. The artists, many of whom work under trying local conditions in Africa, wear sunglasses emblazoned with logos that similarly signify success in the global art world, and imply the artists’ complex relationships with these international markers. Youmbi celebrates African artists while raising questions about what constitutes success in the art world, and how this is linked to branding and consumption.

The shopping bags Youmbi uses, made from sturdy plastic textile and furnished with a zipper, are widely used in the “developing” world. In Africa, they are popular for transporting trade goods, especially internationally. While their usually humble contents contrast with the elite world of art commodities, they nonetheless symbolize global trade and mobility.

The installation, like the human subjects and commodities it references, is mobile and adaptable. The portraits, printed on canvas, roll into a tube; the bags, emptied of their foam stuffing, pack flat into two suitcases, and travel with the artist as airline luggage. In 2010, “Totems” traveled to the Dakar Biennial (May), Johannesburg for the World Cup (June), Cotonou (July), and Kinshasa (October), with site-specific adjustments to adapt to the various physical and social environments. In 2011, it will be shown in its newest iteration at Axis Gallery, in association with SPARCK and submergedart. “Totems” continues to grow, as Hervé Youmbi befriends and photographs more artists.

Hervé Youmbi will attend the reception, and then travel to Washington D.C. to give a presentation at the Smithsonian National Museum for African Art, at 4pm, on May 3, 2011.

Submergedart, 210 Market Street, Ground Floor, Newark, NJ 0710

MUSIC: $7 Admission

“The Prequel to the FUNK” featuring NINJAZ of the Earth
DJ Bonnie Danger on the 1’s & 2’s

LIVE Performances by:
The Benny’s (Band) – NJ
The Shapes (Band) – NY
NJ Rebels (Rap Group) – NJ
HODDY a.k.a Young Jedi of the FANBASE (Rap) – NJ
J.Philippe (Female Rapper) – NJ
RIPMC (Host & Rapper) – NY
Lil Friday (Rapper) – NY
Marvalous (Rapper) – NY
Broken English (Rap Group) – NJ