Interview with kako

This new message « Origins of a new world the tour, Made in India » follows « Made in China»  in 2011. What is the meaning of this tour of the origins of a new world ?

This work began in 2008. I began a series of trips to the countries in which Reunion, this new word has its roots. I am reflecting upon the idea of a world recently born of the forced fusion of diverse origins. Reunion reflects an exceptional ethnic diversity born of the Reunion(Creole) identity. I am exploring the construction of this identity.

The question of our construction must be asked. I meet people who could have been part of this new world but the historical lottery (the chance of history) meant that they stayed in these regions

I could have had these origins myself. What links unite us ?

How do you express this reflection in your art ?

When I began this project I introduced the photographic medium into my work. I always start with this which inevitably captures the moment. I capture a reality as it is.Within this framework imposed by the photo I expose and superimpose, my obsession : the tree, the frozen being. By fixing a frame we allow what we are to be challenged. Why this image ? Why this moment ? 

What is echoing within myself a product of this new world ? Reality is made up of multiple images.

In India this plethora is striking. Reality is invaded by objects, images, colours.

What did you feel while working on this stage (of the project) in India ?

India is an extremely complex country. It would be more accurate to speak of the Indies. Its like a layering of cultures, a mosaic of languages of religions of traditions. The Indian ideal is fundamentally unequal and our Western vision is shaken at the roots. The India-watcher Michel Angot declares that « In the West we have an egalitarian ideal which in practice is unequal ; in India the poorest rub shoulders with the richest but everyone has their position in society. In the West we see strong individuals with weak relationships ; India is made up of weak individuals linked by strong relationships » Maybe we have inherited this capacity to live together despite our differencesfrom this attachement to relationships between Men.

Colour plays an importantrole in your paintings and particularly in the series « Polychromes »

Is this another characteristic of India ?

Colour is effectively an extremely important element. It is like a necessity. It is a predominant characteristic of these countries of origin. For example , there is a festival of colours, HOLI, during which people cover themselves with pigments and  become , incarnate these colours ….A reincarnation in colour. It's an explosion , a hymn to colours where each of the latter has a meaning.

In my role as a plastic artist I have asked myself questions about the role of colour and the method required to relay its importance in Indian culture. The series « polychromes » presents day to day objects, sometimes stacked up, sometimes superimposed to the point of losing sense of reality in order to retain only the colour. I then add my obsession : The Tree « strange and unimaginable » like Hugo Weiss liked to qualify artistic work

I wanted to present this series in a closed space covered with Polychromes from floor to ceiling in order to place the visitor within the objects, in the centre of the colour, in the middle of what I could perceive.

In your paintings we find, as a guding graphic thread the elements of an epic scene. Can you explain the meaning of this ?

The magnitude of the collective imagination is another element which defined my Indian stage. The imaginary gives a sense of belonging and this reflects identities. In such a vast country with multiple customs where several official languages and a multitude of dialects are spoken I perceived the imaginary rather like the cement of India. I chose to represent this imaginary with a scene in which people live, struggle inspired by the low-lying landscapes of Mamallapuram. Fragments are serighraphed on the canvasses representing this shared imaginary world common to all ; the sharing of a collective imagination allows us to cohabit even if we are not the same colour, even if we do not pray to the same god. Sharing in an ever more globalized world, where space and time fade away develops a sense of belonging which ends up creating an identity. It is my impression that our new world tends towards this.

We can observe a recurrent feminine presence in your paintings. Does this reflect a particular perception ?

Yes indeed, women walking fascinated me. Women in the street, women in life… They have an undeniable link with this earth. For hours on end I watched Indian women sitting on the ground or walking, often barefoot. To me,this balance between women and the earth sums up humanity. Its role in society is just as remarkable but also paradoxical. Indian women often play a pivotal role in politics, the media and the economy whilst many of them are married to men whom they do not know and did not choose. This great divergence in the situation of Indian women interests me.

But I maintain that it is women who make up the economic, political and cultural motor, occupying all positions in Indian society, it is these women who determine the life of the country.

I have tried to introduce this presence in my work by diverse means. I also evoke the question of their influence on our new world, the role of women in theses countries of origin. I have no answers but I am certain that the world of tomorrow, a new world , will be a feminine one.


Did this lead to your collaboration with anairveda Alleck and Nalini Treebhoobun ?

I was extremely fortunate to meet Nalini and Nirveda, Mauritian artists and also from a new world. Due to their Indian origins they have maintained a very strong link with this country of origin and a concrete relationship with Indian reality. Creating an installation under the voluntary influence of these two artists was very interesting ; I am a great admirer of their work but I am also fascinated by their vision of the world which surrounds them.


You also solicited Wilhiam Zitte and Bernard Payet to write the texts....

The contribution of other artists in my work, the opposing of points of view is very interesting and enriching. If Wilhiam Zitte, plastic artist wrote the catalogue preface it is because I firmly believe he is a unique personality in Reunion's artworld. As for Bernard Payet, I was strongly drawn to his texts in the collection « dann lonbraz le mo » (In the shade of words). Poet of a new world, maybe fascinated by India too, his text « The water’s song» reflects my questions and echoes the content of this exhibition.

After China and India what other countries of origin will you turn to for inspiration ?

My tour of origins of a new world transports me from the East to the West... so an island, a large island.