Interview: Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani
Luca Curci talks with Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani during THE EXTENDED BODY 2020 at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani was born in Togo and currently lives in Stuttgart (Germany). Graduated from the College of Arts and Crafts in Kpalimé (Togo), his artistic practice encompasses painting, drawing, mixed media, photography and video. His exhibitions have travelled internationally, including Venice Biennale, Havana Biennale, Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Bortolami Gallery in New York City, CICA Museum in Gimpo (South Korea), ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe (Germany), Pera Museum in Istanbul (Turkey), Hazard Galley in Johannesburg (South Africa) among others. He has earned numerous prestigious awards for his work, including the Leonardo Da Vinci International Prize 2020 in Florence, Italy; the Artfacts Performance Awards 2019 in Berlin, Germany; the Giotto Prize 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal; Finalist at the Global Art Awards 2018 in Dubai, UAE; Best Video Art Prize at the 17th International Film Festival ‘Zoom-Zblizenia’ 2014 in Jelenia Gora, Poland.
Luca Curci – How is being an artist nowadays?
Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani – Being an artist is a passion, the love of creating and freedom of expression through art. To survive as an artist is not easy. I think that the public and private institutions and ordinary people should support the artist by buying his/her works or paying for his/her services so that the artist can survive. To come back to your question, being an artist nowadays represents a lot of opportunities. With technological developments such as the internet, social networks, youtube, etc., the artist can promote his/her work through these channels and be discovered by the curators, gallery owners and the general public. I have been invited to participate in several exhibitions thanks to internet, facebook and youtube. The art world is opening up more and more.
LC – What are you currently working on?
A-GD – I am currently working on a technique of painting with coffee on paper and then drawing using the pen and marker. It is a work that requires discipline, because an error cannot be corrected.
LC – What is your creative process like?
A-GD – As a multidisciplinary artist, my creative process depends on the art form chosen for the creation of the final work. Indeed, to create a work, I have to think about the medium to use, which fits well to what I would like to do. Whether it’s painting, drawing, photography or video. I make sketches of ideas to be done in the future, sometimes I create work spontaneously.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
A-GD – My duty as an artist is to reflect on some issues related to society. The artist in my opinion, is a mirror of society. I am convinced that the artist can play an important role in providing solutions to our problems. I work on various social issues, African cultural identities, search for peace among people, and also human physical communication in the age of new technologies. I follow a strong approach against violence, racism and exclusion.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
A-GD – Originally from Togo in West Africa and now based in Germany, I have seen my work developed over time. My artistic practice encompasses painting, drawing, mixed media, photography and video.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
A-GD – The artwork presented in your exhibition, was a video work titled “Akaba-Mbele” which means ‘Tribal marks’. In my country Togo and most of African countries, we have people from different ethnic groups who have particular tribal marks on their body or face. Tribal marks represent belonging to an ethnic group. My parents have tribal marks on face (III v III), but I don’t. I created this video work using technology by representing tribal marks in white lines on my face. The white lines appearing and disappearing on my face in the video, represent tribal marks from different ethnic groups in Togo (West Africa).
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions usually enrich yourself and your art?
A-GD – Yes, visitors’ suggestions enrich me and my art. Constructive criticism from visitors is always welcome.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
A-GD – Yes, I think that ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
A-GD – Yes, I will continue to collaborate with you, because your exhibitions are well organized. Your events are of very high quality. Your team is doing a great job. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
A-GD – ITSLIQUID GROUP is a platform which represents a good visibility for artists. Continue on this good way and make the artists dream.