Through the visual interpretations of anthropology and architecture, Cheikh Ndiaye (b. 1970) alludes to the socio-political history of Urbanism in Senegal in the context of rapid economic development— the era of post-independence. This detail-oriented documentation of Ndiaye’s body of work bears witness to the constant physical and political changes that the artist experiences and observes.
The archival nature of Ndiaye’s work acts as a record of the cultural changes in African modernity mirrored through architectural form. The municipal planning in Dakar, which failed to harbor the overwhelming number of inhabitants post-independence, led to the abandonment of communal spaces. While no longer serving their intended purposes, these otherwise functioning spaces act as specular devices of current affairs. This portrayal of abstracted forms within figuration through bright and vibrant colors reflects the duality of urban space as both private and public. Disparity between visual subject and emotive content adds multifaceted layers to the paintings, veiling a sense of somber uncertainty.
Branching out from a two-dimensional approach, Ndiaye works across various mediums including installation, film, and photography as a form of enquiry. By subverting the gallery space with dispossessed objects, he introduces the concept of ‘defamiliarization’ in an attempt to redefine the functionality of architecture within Africa. The transformation of surrounding spaces is achieved through the exertions of independency of familiar objects placed in a different context. Familiar objects, which inhibit independent agency, are placed in a different context as a way of transforming the surrounding spaces—objects with an agenda of their own are mobilized to define the societal commentary.
Born in Dakar, Senegal, Cheikh Ndiaye graduated from École Nationale des Beaux-arts de Dakar and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, France. Ndiaye has shown his work internationally at Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Fondation Blachère, Apt, France; and Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal. He has held solo exhibitions at La Maréchalerie Centre d'Art Contemporain, Versailles, France; Musée Africain de Lyon, Lyon, France; and more. His works are included in the permanent collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Centre National des Arts Plastiques (CNAP), Paris, France, FRAC Grand Large, Dunkerque, France; Frac des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou, France, and KADIST Art Foundation, Paris, France.
Cheikh Ndiaye was the recipient of the Marin Prize for Painting in Paris, France in 2013, the Natulis Art Temporary Prize in Berlin, Germany in 2012 and the Linossier Prize in France in 2008. In 2019, his installation Hippocampus– first realized at La Maréchalerie – was selected for the Havana Biennale, and his installation Blancheur rigide dérisoire en opposition au ciel was selected for the 56th International Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2015. Most recently, Ndiaye's work was included in Sanguine. Luc Tuymans on Baroque at Fondazione Prada in Milan, Italy.
Cheikh Ndiaye currently lives and works in Dakar, Senegal and New York, NY.