Galerie des Modernes

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Armand Fernandez Arman

Nouveau Réalisme, Accumulation, Combustion

  • Multiple Twins

Armand Fernandez Arman

(Nice, 1928-New York, 2005)

Multiple Twins, 1989

Accumulation of 104 Ibeji statuettes in a plexiglass box forming a presentation table
Signed with pen-etcher on the vertical front panel bottom right
Plexiglass height: 44 cm / Total height with wooden base: 53,5 cm
Width: 122.5 cm
Depth: 102 cm

Provenance     :
- Mourtala Diop Collection, New York, U.S.A. and Dakar, Senegal
- Jean-Paul Ledeur Collection, Paris

Exhibitions    :
- Collection Mourtala Diop , Contemporary Art Exhibition, Ifan Museum, Dakar, May 6 to July 17, 1993
- Quelques impressions d’Afrique, Galerie Beaubourg, Château Notre-Dame des Fleurs, Vence, from July 7 to October 31, 1996
- Africarmania – Arman et l’Afrique, Galerie Beaubourg, Château Notre-Dame des Fleurs, Vence, from 1 July to 31 October 2001
- FIAC, Paris, stand of Galerie Beaubourg, 2002

Literature     :
- Parcours d’un mécène. Collection Mourtala Diop, Ed. Sepia, Paris, 1993, reproduced in color,  p. 24
- Quelques impressions d’Afrique by Pierre Nahon, catalogue of the exhibition of the Galerie Beaubourg, Ed. from The Difference, 1996, described at p. 24 reproduced in color, p. 25
- Africarmania – Arman et l’Afrique, catalogue of the Galerie Beaubourg exhibition, texts by Arman and P. Nahon, Ed. from La Différence, Paris, 2002, commented by Arman on p. 36 and reproduced in color, p. 37
- Registered in the Archives Arman by Mrs. Denyse Durand-Ruel under n ° 4268

Documentary film     :
Mourtala Diop Voyageur de l’Art, documentary film of Laurence Attali, 1993, commented and reproduced from the minute 7.05 to 7.22 and 26.50 and 38.47 to 38.50 and 39.17 to 39.20

Certificate of authenticity by Mrs. Denyse Durand-Ruel 


Mourtala Diop was a collector of contemporary art born in Dakar. He ran an African art gallery in New York. He was a great friend of Arman and he owned thirty works. Mourtala Diop assembled a large collection of Ibeji in his New York apartment, and asked Arman to make it a work of art, a unique table in which he accumulated 104 Ibeji statuettes.

Arman himself was a great collector of African art. In July 1996, his collection was exhibited under the title "Arman et l’art africain" in Marseille, at La Vieille Charité, then in Paris at the Musée des Arts africains et océan. Arman said: "My dialogue with African art is related to the belief that artistic creation is part of a fund common to humanity and that in the discovery of aesthetic solutions the development of masterpieces goes beyond regions, cultures and is one of the comparable treasures everywhere, at any time, to what man has created ". "In Africa, in the markets, I saw uninteresting things, quite grotesque. And I did not know at all what African art was. And one day I saw an exhibition organized by Charles Ratton, "Océanie et Afrique", where I saw masterpieces. All of a sudden I realized there was something else. It was all about art. (Arman, from an interview published in the newspaper L'Humanité on September 10, 1996).

The cult of IBEJI.
In the Yoruba religious tradition, twins are considered to have one soul, united and inseparable. The care of the IBEJI is entrusted to the mother, who, in some tribes, regularly wash, coat, feed them with a kind of bean paste. It is still the mother who, during ceremonies, carries on her back the IBEJI, wrapping it in her tunic, as if it were a living child. It is the sculptor who decides on the artistic form he will give to the statuette. The height of an IBEJI varies between 20 and 30 centimeters. He is placed on a rounded base, his arms hang down, his legs are short and his head is large compared to the body, with very diverse and elaborate hairstyles. Often IBEJI wear bronze or iron rings around wrists and ankles. But also necklaces, bracelets, abdominal chains or earrings, glass beads, coral or palm core adorn the statuettes. In some cases, decorations, such as necklaces and bracelets, are worked directly in the wood by the sculptor. Often the ankles and wrists of the statuettes are decorated with cowrie shells. The cauri is a local currency that, in the context of an IBEJI statuette, indicates the wealth of a family, while the better-offs cover their IBEJI with coats and hats adorned with cowrie shells or small pearls. But the most important "natural decoration" for a statuette of IBEJI is its patina, ie the more or less thick layer which covers the wood and which is composed of different products with which IBEJI was coated in ritual ceremonies.

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