"As a painter, I am at an intersection between the material and in the immaterial. It has to do with the order of breath and the unseen. Working in such a space helps me to see a different reality and to decipher my outlook, as if I was turning transparent and that, at that very moment I could merge with my surroundings” – Gbaguidi
Pelagie Gbaguidi was born in Dakar in 1965 and is from Benin by origin. She graduated from l'École des Beaux Arts, Belgium in 1995, and currently lives and practises in Brussels, Belgium.
Gbaguidi defines herself as a contemporary griot. In the poetic sense, "the griot questions the individual in his own path as he absorbs the words of the ancients, re-modulates it like a ball of fat, and deposits it into the belly of the bypasser, with the ingredients of his time." In practice, the role of the griot is to; "break the rhythm of everyday life and incorporate in it, its share of eternity.”
Gbaguidi's works; paintings, writings, drawings and installations, are musings of individual and collective memory. Her work is an anthology of signs and traces about trauma. She critically engages with the misuse of history; deconstructing stereotypes, rewriting metanarratives, and using myth as open spaces to create a simulacrum of the present in flux.
She consciously works within and transgresses the framework of the colonial and postcolonial archive to unmask the process of oblivion, through her reflections expressed in pencil and brush. This re-envisioning of the imagery by the artist creates an urgency to put into practise, a writing of liberating images through a corpus of contemporary forms.
Her recent exhibitions include Asylstadt Museum at the Stadt Museum in Munich in 2013 and 2014, the Divine Comedy curated by Simon Njami at the MMK in Frankfurt in 2014, and at the National Museum of African Art in Washington DC