Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction
  • Thierry Oussou; Trace XI

Lot Estimate
ZAR 90 000 - 120 000

About this Item

Beninese 1988-
Trace XI
signed and dated 2015
mixed media on paper
151,5 by 153cm excluding frame


Thierry Oussou is a self-taught artist who works with drawing, painting, video, installation and performance. His idiosyncratic practice borrows from archaeological methods and explores the relationship between contemporary art and ethnographic objects.

In 2011 Oussou founded Atelier Ye in Benin as an informal art school where artists could assemble and exchange ideas. His practice caught the attention of artists Meschac Gaba and Barthélémy Toguo, who he subsequently assisted.

The gestural mark-making and neo-expressionist figuration in this large drawing is typical of his black-paper drawings. Oussou favours paper over canvas as his primary medium. ‘Paper is very sculptural … The physical quality of paper is paramount for me. It’s the physical quality of the human being.’1 Oussou’s earliest drawings were small works inspired by the slates used by schoolchildren, but in 2014 he started to experiment with larger works such this, which are now his standard practice.

Sean O’Toole

  1. Anna McNay. (2018) ‘Thierry Oussou’, Studio International, 8 August, [Online] Available: [8 December 2018].

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