Contemporary African Art Collection by Jean Pigozzi

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Philip Kwame Apagya

Born 1958, Sekondi, Ghana
Lives and works in Shama, Ghana

Philip Kwame Apagya amuses himself with the attributes of the consumer society, and isn’t ashamed to be a merchant of illusion. He belongs to the tradition of studio portraitists who chronicled the local population in the twentieth century throughout West Africa. After 1970, the popularity of inexpensive cameras, colour photography, and fast printing increasingly imperilled these black-and-white studios. However, Apagya was able to make his father’s studio prosper by switching to colour and by converting the banality of typical studio settings through exotic backdrops. His contemporary interiors are replete with the furnishings of consumer culture (refrigerators, TVs, hi-fi stereos, telephones), while his exterior decors could frame an opulent villa, an airport, or even Manhattan. The resulting photographs transport his clientele into the idealized universe of advertisements. While his customers pose only briefly in front of these fanciful decorations, the resulting photographs offer a permanent record of their hopes and aspirations.

Depending on the fashion, the fads, the dreams, or wishes of his clientele, Apagya renews his painted scenarios every year, commissioning local painter Daniel A. Jasper to create ever fresher fantasies. He even gives those who dream of the Internet the chance to be photographed in a synthetic cybercafé. Apagya has stated: “A picture may speak the truth, but one cannot see the truth. However, truth is not my major concern. I am more interested in creating prestige, fantasy and beauty. . . . My pictures are more like proverbs or palm nuts, things to break up, something in which the meaning can only be unplugged if you know how to look at them. Photography has a lot in common with magic.”

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2005
13 Jan – 19 Feb
Philip Kwame Apagya
Rena Bransten Gallery
San Francisco - USA

2004
Philip Kwame Apagya – Recent Photographs
Jack Shainman Gallery
New York - USA

2003
Philip Kwame Apagya
Galerie Stähli
Zurich - Switzerland

2002
Berlin Portraits by Philip Kwame Apagya
Jointly organized by the Goethe Institute, Accra and the Ghana National Museum,
Accra - Ghana

2002
Philip Kwame Apagya.
Alliance Francaise
Bahia - Bresil

2002
Welcome - Philip Kwame Apagya
Galerie Schuebbe
Düsseldorf - Germany

2002
Apagya Portraits
Iwalewa-Haus
Bayreuth - Germany

2001 – 2002
Philip Kawma Apagya: Photographer of imagined worlds
gemeentemuseum, The Hague

2000
Studio Apagya.
Centre national de la cinématographie (CNC), during the 50th International
Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France (May).

2000
Philip Kwame Apagya. Portraits.
Gallery Forma Libera, Torino, Italy (February-March 2000).

2000
Philip Kwame Apagya.
Disegni Animati.
Gallery Louisa delle Piane, Milano, Italy (February).

1999
Fiesta du Sud
Marseille (October 1999).

1999
Swedish Photo Fair.
Göteborg, Sweden (October 1999).

1999
Festival des trois continents
Nantes, France (November 1999).

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2012
"Images", Festival des Arts Visuels de Vevey, Switzerland

2011
Breaking News : Fotografia contemporanea da Medio Oriente e Africa, Ex Ospedale Sant’Agostino, Modena, Italy

2007
Manifest
Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Colorado
Colorado Springs, USA

2006
The Whole World is Rotten
The Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH Joint Venture, Pence Gallery, Davis
CA - USA

2005
Earth and Memory: African and African-American Photograph
Elizabeth Stone Harper Gallery
Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC - USA

2005
Arts of Africa
Grimaldi Forum
Monaco - France

2005
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Houston - USA

2003 - 2004
The Office
The Photographers Gallery
London – UK

2003
The Public View
Pentagram
London – UK

2003
In faccia al mondo.
Il ritratto contemporaneao nel medium fotografico
Museo d’arte contemporaneo di Villa Croce
Genova - Italy

2003
Les Ateliers des désirs
Philip Kwame Apagya, Seydou Keïta & Malick Sidibé
Centre Culturel Français Freiburg
Freiburg - Germany

2002 - 2003
Afrikanische Reklamekunst: Try me !
Iwalewa Haus der Universität Bayreuth
Bayreuth – Germany
München Stadtmuseum
Munich - Germany

2002
No Border
Museo della città di Ravenna

2002
IbridAAfricA, hybrid Africa
Cagliari Lazzaretto Sant’Elia

2002
Flash Afrique.
Kunstforum Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany.

2001 – 2002
Het bloeiende kunstleven van Ghana [Ghanaian Arts-Alive and Well]
Haags Gemeentemuseum
The Hague, The Netherlands

2001
Abbild/Depiction.
Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria. October/November 2001

2001
The Vibrant Art of Ghana.
Den Haag, The Netherlands, September 2001 - January 2002.

2001
The Leopold Godowsky Jr. Color photography award winners 2000
Boston University, MA, USA (September).

2001
Flash Afrique.
Kunsthalle Wien, Austria (September/October).

2000
Africainside.
Fries Museum, Noorderlicht-Festival, The Netherlands (September).

2000/1
Snap me one! Studio Photographers in Africa.
Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 1 - February 15, 2001).

2000
African Photographers.
51 art gallery - Roger Smulewizc, Antwerp, Belgium (September-October).

2000
Villes africaines.
Lille, France (September).

2000
Expressions africaines.
Maison International, Rennes France (February).

2000
Portrait Africa.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (January-March 2000).

1999
Fiera di Venezia (Alliance Francaise, Venice, Italy, September 1999).

1999
"Retour de Bamako"
Galleries FNAC, Paris, France (March-April 1999), FNAC, Barcelona,
Spain.(June-July 1999).

1999
"Magazin Photo Night"
Organized by the journal "Der Tagesanzeiger", Xtra-Limmat-Haus, Zürich,
Switzerland. (March 1999).

1999
"Snap me one! Studio Photographers in Africa".
City Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (January - April 1999) and
Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth, Germany (June 1999 - August 1999).

1999
"Africa by Africa. A photographic View".
Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK. (January -March1999).

1998
"3émes Rencontres de la photographie africaine".
Bamako, Mali.(December 1998).

1998
"Snap me one! Studio Photographers in Africa".
City Museum in Munich, Germany.

1997
The Face of Africa".
Hamburg, Germany, press house of Geo magazine.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2005
African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.

2002
Afrikanische Reklamekunst
Exhibition catalogue by Tobias Wendle. Published by Peter Hammer.

2002
NoBorder
Exhibition catalogue. Museo della citta die Ravenna, Rom.

2002
ibridAAfricA, Africa hybrid
Exhibition catalogue. Cagliari Lazzaretto Sant’Elia, Rom, Gangemi Edition

2001
Abbild. Recent Portraiture and Depiction
Exhibition catalogue. Steirischer Herbst 2001. Wien/New York: Springer.

2001
Flash Afrique, Fotografie aus Westafrika
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Steidl.

2000
Africaninside.
Exhibition catalogue. Groningen: Noorderlicht.

2000
Porträt Afrika. Photographische Positionen eines Jahrunderts
Exhibition catalogue. Berlin: Haus des Kulturen der Welt

1998
Snap me One ! Studiofotografen in Afrika
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Prestel

1998
Anthologie de la Photographie africaine et l’Océan Indien
Edited by Revue Noir. Pg 109



Philip Kwame Apagya : Biography (eng/fr) Exhibitions

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Philip Kwame Apagya Biography

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