Abdoulaye Konaté: Prélude
Abdoulaye Konaté: Prélude (2023) took place at LGDR, Paris. This exhibition precedes the artist’s solo presentation at LGDR’s headquarters at 19 East 64th Street, New York, in early 2024. Born in 1953, Konaté has garnered widespread recognition for his textile installations that explore sociopolitical and environmental issues while foregrounding his aesthetic concerns and formal language. LGDR, Paris, showcased five monumental works, three of which were shown for the first time. The exhibition also included sketchbooks by the artist and other archival materials.
Konaté trained as a painter at the Institut National des Arts in Bamako, Mali, and then at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana in the 1970s and ’80s. Since turning to textiles in the 1990s, Konaté draws inspiration from ceremonial and ritual clothing, invoking traditional West African practices of using textiles as forms of commemoration and communication. His oeuvre engages a wide range of topical questions—concerning social injustice, globalization, power struggles, and environmental degradation in Mali and beyond—and subjects encountered through his travels and personal research. Utilizing traditional and local craft techniques, Konaté works with assistants to dye and sew textile ribbons into complex chromatic creations. The artist likens his process—using each ribbon as a brushstroke in the larger composition—to painting, resulting from a rigorous investigation of abstraction and color theory.
The exhibition included the large-scale Lune bleue (2019), a highlight of Konaté’s retrospective at the 2022 Dakar Biennale. Its tranquil blues and round central form relay the artist’s childhood memory of seeing the moon reflected on the waters of Lake Faguibine on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert—a lake almost dried out due to a collapse of the region’s ecosystem. Combining architectural precision with the fluidity of fabric, Konaté encapsulates his translation of events and experiences into color.