Nkondi, Kongo, Power Figure
Wood, nails, mirror
29 x 14 x 10 1/2 inches
Photo courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery
Arman the Collector: The Artistís Collection of African Art
NEW YORK • Paul Kasmin Gallery • Ongoing
The exhibition is comprised of twenty pieces from Armanís collection of African Art. The French-born American artist's collection of African Art began in 1955 with the purchase of the most important art from the Dan people of Liberia, and eventually grew to 300 Ė 400 pieces by the artistís estimate. In Arman the Collector, the gallery exhibits a ceremonial ibkomba Makonde face mask, formerly in the Tristan Tzara Collection; a byeri sculpture from Fang-Betsi that was believed to provide protection from the deceased and to aid in daily life; six Bundu helmet masks used for rites of divination and healing; and a nkondi from Kongo -- a power figure that encapsulates the religious and spiritual beliefs of its makers. The exhibition also includes a Bwa nwantantay plank mask, used to represent moral codes and religious laws; a wooden Bamileke headcrest mask adorned with beads and embroidered fabric; an arugba bowl figure from Yoruba, believed to carry medicinal water; and other works from Arman's exceptional collection. Framing the exhibition are two sculptures by Arman showcasing the influence of African art on his creations. His collection of African Art can be viewed as an extension of the collectorís impulse seen in his work. According to Arman, ďI collect because collecting is part of my makeup. Iíve always done it. Iíve always accumulated, much more than Iíve collected. And by accumulating, Iíve always been surrounded by objects.Ē
Arman was born Armand Pierre Fernandez in Nice, France, 1928 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1973, when he officially changed his name to Armand Pierre ARMAN. He died in October 2005.
Paul Kasmin Gallery Website
Please click here for a Culturekiosque archive feature, review and pictures of African Masks at the Musee Dapper in Paris.
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