Uprising Art is media partner of the first edition of the BIAC, Biennale Internationale d’Art Contemporain de Martinique, that takes place between November 22, 2013 and January 15, 2014 and which theme is “On the Resonance of the Literary Outcry in the Visual Arts”. For this need, Uprising travels to the Martinique from November 19 to 26 to report on the event and conduct a series of interviews of the organizing team, the invited curators, the artists in residency and the artists from the International and Martinican Pavilions.

Follow us to know more on the backstage of the event and its main outcomes.

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Exclusively an interview of
Florine Demosthène, Haitian artist
International Pavilion

See pictures of the Pavilion here

This is the first edition of the BIAC in Martinique, FWI. What is the importance of such an event?

This biennale is significant in that it show cases the vast array of art practices throughout the Caribbean region and it also highlights artists in the diaspora.

Florine Demosthène, The Capture Series, 2013 © Uprising Art

Florine Demosthène, The Capture Series, 2013 © Uprising Art

The theme of the International Pavilion is Otherwise Black, how do your artworks interact with it? You present four paintings from The Capture Series.

The chosen works are part of the “Capture Series” where I delve into the subconscious mind of a fictitious black heroine and the ephemeral quality of her thoughts and experiences. It is an attempt to structure a new mythology that explores black female sexuality and sensuality.

Is the representation of Black women bodies still at the core of your practice or have you headed your investigations towards new issues?

The black female body is the foundation of my art practice. I am intrigued in how the body is represented, dissected and misappropriated in all forms of media.

Florine Demosthène, The Capture Series, 2013 © Uprising Art

Florine Demosthène, The Capture Series, 2013 © Uprising Art

Through your artworks, are you trying to provoke consciousness? How can art contribute fighting against the exotisation of bodies? And how can it break and change racial constructs?

I feel that all art can do is make you think and perhaps, make you feel… and those emotions can motivate you to make some mental shifts in your belief system and attitude towards race and gender.

Is there a denunciation of violence in your works?

I’m not necessarily depicting violence. I’m concerned with decay and the grotesque… sort of like, rotting flesh. The ‘heroine’ is shedding layers of preconceived ideas, much in the way a snake sheds its skin. This process is a kind of continual rebirth.

What informs your visual imagery?

I would say that reading… anything… anywhere… anytime is the primary source of inspiration for my artwork.

Does literature influence your practice?

Literature helps me frame my ideas. It is a sort of guide through my concepts.

Who are your artistic influences?

There is not one particular set of ideas or practice that influences my artistic practice. It really can be anything. I am a fan of Kerry James Marshall because of the way he constructs the narrative. I’ve been looking quite a bit at contemporary art in South Africa because of the way these artists respond to their environment/issues/causes.

Florine Demosthène, détail de 'Black versus Daniel', The Capture Series © Uprising Art

Florine Demosthène, détail de ‘Black versus Daniel’, The Capture Series © Uprising Art

What are your upcoming projects?

As of now, I am working towards creating a series of sculptures and/or installations for an upcoming solo exhibition in South Africa. I’m also working on expanding the ‘heroine’ concept via a series of public performances entitled “GET AZZAMATIZED” in Accra, Ghana.

More about the artist (biography, exhibitions, biennales)

By Clelia Coussonnet

November 2013

Headline picture’s credits : © Florine Demosthène