Photography | Rachidi Bissiriou : Gloire Immortelle | at David Hill Gallery | London | Art Week

Rachidi Bissiriou : Gloire Immortelle

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Friday, 10 June 2022 to Friday, 29 July 2022

David Hill and Carrie Scott are pleased to present Gloire Immortelle, the first ever solo exhibition by West-African photographer Rachidi Bissiriou.

Born in 1950 in the town of Kétou, Bissiriou began photographing members of his community after Benin was finally granted independence in 1960. In 1968, he opened Studio Pleasure in Kétouat at the age of 18, which he operated until 2004. Following its closure, the now 72-year-old Bissiriou retired from photography to breed sheep and chickens, with an unlikely stint working in local politics.

Bissiriou inadvertently documented an intense period of seismic cultural and political shifts through his disarmingly beautiful portraits of local people as he found them. The connections he forged with his subjects bred open and revealing images with an air of unguarded ease. At the time, cameras were largely understood as a bureaucratic tool and regarded with suspicion, thus their laxed atmosphere Bissiriou was able to conjure is remarkable.

The images offer an insight into the diversity and beauty of West-African style during the period. An aura of true self-expression and a newfound freedom emanates from the figures, as a fusion of traditional attire such as grand boubou, head wraps and Ankara agbadas, are brought into conversation with a burgeoning westernised youth culture.

Bissiriou’s innate photographic talent shines through in the delicate framing and lighting of these black and white pictures. There is something markedly contemporary about the vacant settings and the way he situates the figure within the shot. A comparison comes to mind with contemporary ‘street style’ photography due to the combination of casualness and personal expression.

Overall, this remarkable exhibition offers a previously unseen insight into one of West Africa’s greatest photographers. It captures the spirit of a pivotal historical moment through picturing the lives and styles of those who lived it.

 

Exhibition Information:

Rachidi Bissiriou: Gloire Immortelle

10 June – 29 July 2022

David Hill Gallery, 345 Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 6HA

@davidhill_photo | www.davidhillgallery.net 

 

Title: Untitled, 1984
Artist: Rachidi Bissiriou
Dimension: 16 × 0 × 20 in


Title: Untitled, 1974
Artist: Rachidi Bissiriou
Dimension: 16 × 0 × 20 in


Title: Untitled, 1980
Artist: Rachidi Bissiriou
Dimension: 16 × 0 × 20 in


Title: Untitled, 1970
Artist: Rachidi Bissiriou
Dimension: 16 × 0 × 20 in


Title: Untitled, 1968
Artist: Rachidi Bissiriou
Dimension: 16 × 0 × 20 in


Artist ( Description ): 

Born in 1950 in the town of Kétou, Bissiriou began photographing members of his community after Benin was finally granted independence in 1960. In 1968, he opened Studio Pleasure in Kétouat at the age of 18, which he operated until 2004. Following its closure, the now 72-year-old Bissiriou retired from photography to breed sheep and chickens, with an unlikely stint working in local politics.

Venue ( Address ): 

David Hill Gallery, 345 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6HA

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