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Jean-François Boclé

SELECTED WORKS BY Jean-François Boclé

Everything Must Go

Everything Must Go

Everything Must Go

Everything Must Go

Jean-François Boclé
Everything Must Go


97,000 Blue plastic bags (HD polythlene, thickness 18/20 microns)

54 x 30 x 14 cm each
Jean-François Boclé’s metaphorical installations propose a wasteland in which the ruins of civilisation are shored against its discontents. The artist’s alchemical process involves bringing everyday objects into a network of relations, highlighting dialectics such as capitalism and consumerism, privilege and injustice, and so forth. His playful appropriations and gestures are rooted in the question of postcolonial consciousness and collective history. Bananas inscribed with political text, animated chocolate drawings, blown up carrier bags, and flattened cardboard boxes, become devises for the communication of historical narratives. Inevitably, they become infected by a multiplicity of meanings and associations with the introduction of the final component: an audience.

Born in Fort-de-France, the administrative capital of Martinique, Boclé left the country in exile as a teenager. The notion of creolisation that defines the geographic and intellectual character of the Antilles is central to the artist’s exploration of history. The transnational, interracial and cross-cultural implications of colonialism form the bases of Boclé’s multidisciplinary practice. Toxicity, as it relates explicitly to global climate change, but also to the environmental racism of colonial Europe set the stage for the artist’s interrelated references. Childhood memories plagued by feelings of displacement become rooted into a grand narrative of hybridisation and post-colonial identity.

In his large-scale installations (Tout doit disparaître! /Everything Must Go, 2004) a sea of blue plastic bags form an abyss, a quasi-memorial to lives lost at sea during the transatlantic slave trade. The ubiquitous plastic bags of supermarket checkouts become air inflated, supplied with oxygen to symbolise the priceless commodity that is life itself. His inverted monument signals what has been lost over the course of histories exchange, the quantity of bags channeling a symbolic force. Art becomes a stand in for an act of disappearance, the installation a site of loss beyond memory, making visible that which is unrepresentable.

The sensorial capacity of Boclé’s installation is a product of its pluralism; which exists within a spectrum of different and confused meanings. The theory of creolisation, as pertinent to the artist’s own personal biography as it is to today’s art production, remains fixed to literary theorist Edouard Glissant’s “idea of an ongoing process capable of producing the identical and the different”. Boclé’s recapitulation of the colonial narrative is one where dehumanisation is translated into familiar art objects that find their ultimate paradox at sea, where the waves of the old, the new, and the global meet.

© Osei Bonsu, 2014

Jean-François Boclé's BIOGRAPHY

Jean-François Boclé
Born in 1971, Martinique, Caribbean
Lives and works in Paris, France


Outre-Mémoire, Cité de la Musique, Rue musicale, Paris.

Art Brussels Solo Show Jean-François Boclé. Solo Show at the International Art Fair Art Brussels with Gallery Nomad Brussels, Belgium, 23-26 April 2010.

Talking Bundles, performance, Gallery Nomad Brussels, Belgium
Jean-François Boclé, personal exhibition, Gallery Nomad Brussels, Belgium

I Did Not Discover America. Personal exhibition, BildMuseet - Umeå, Sweden.

Chut !!! Des hommes tombent. Performance, Théâtre du Renard, Paris, France

Acte en retour. Personal exhibition, Galerie André Arsenec, CMAC-Scène Nationale, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean
Dessine-moi. Artistic intervention at Lycée La Jetée, Le François, Martinique, Caribbean
Mes Pertes. Artistic intervention, in Circonscription Nord Caraïbes de l’Académie de Martinique, Martinique, Caribbean
Outre-Mémoire. Personal exhibition at Chapelle de Conflans in Charenton, Val-de-Marne, France

Outre-Mémoire, Personal exhibition at Centre d’art contemporain Le Parvis in Ibos, France
Outre-Mémoire. Personal exhibition at Mapa Teatro/Laboratorio de Artistas in Bogotá, Colombia
Outre-Mémoire. Video projection at Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador
Bâbords. Personal exhibition at Palazzo Lenzi-IFF in Florence, Italy

Tu me copieras. Personal exhibition at Bibliothèque municipale Nelson Mandela in Vitry-sur-Seine, France
Boat. Personal exhibition at Théâtre Jean Vilar in Vitry-sur-Seine, France
Outre-Mémoire. Personal exhibition at Atelier 231 - National Centre of the arts of the street in Sotteville-lès-Rouen, France
Outre-Mémoire. Personal exhibition at Ekotechnické Museum in Prague, Czech Republic.

Album de famille. Artistic intervention at Association African Solidarity in Ouagadougou, Burkina Fasso

Tout doit disparaître !. Personal exhibition at Espace Oscar Niemeyer, Paris, France.


Moi Aussi J'Aime le Tiban, T&T Art Contemporain, Guadeloupe.
Made in Africa & the diaspora, Arthaus, Miami, US.
(e)merge, Gallery Nomad Brussels, Washington, US.
Volta Basel, Gallery Nomad Brussels, Basel, Switzerland.
La Grande Bouffe, Tour & Taxis, Brussels, Belgium.
Volta NY, Gallery Nomad Brussels, New York, US.

Périféeriques3, Place Toussaint Louverture, Jacmel, Haïti.
Muestra # 1 Contemporánea / impo . po / sible, Ackee Spot Contemporary, Mercedes Norte, Costa Rica.
Saber Desconocer, 43 Salón (inter) Nacional de Artistas, Medellín, Colombia.
Fetish Modernity, National Museum of World Culture, Stockholm, Sweden.
Art Miami art fair, Gallery Nomad Brussels, Miami, US.

The 11 Bienal de la Habana, Cuba
The Prome Encuentro Bienal di Caribe, Aruba.
Fetish Modernity, Naprstek Museum of Cultures, National Museum, Praha, Czech Republic
Who More Sci-Fi Than Us?, Kunsthal KadE, Amersfoort, Netherlands
Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, El Museo de Barrio, The Queens Museum of Art and The Studio Museum, New York, US
Fetish Modernity, Museum für Völkerkunde, Vienna

The 8th Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil
International Festival of Contemporary Sculpture “Escaut. Rives, dérives”, group show, 19 May-18 Sep 2011, northern France and Belgium.
Art Brussels 29 contemporary art fair, Gallery Nomad Brussels
Caribe Expandido, Domaine de Fonds Saint-Jacques, Martinique
White walls, red floors,black corners, Brussels, Belgium
Fetish Modernity, Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium.
Caribe Globales, La creacion caribena contemporanea,MAC-Museo de Arte Contemporaneo San Juan, Puerto Rico

III Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres FESMAN, «Modernités + Résistances, Dakar, Senegal
The Reality of Perception, Gallery Nomad Brussels, Belgium
XXXI Bienal de Pontevedra, «Utropicos», Museo de Pontevedra (Galicia, Spain)
miXed, group show, Parnassus Kerk, Gent, Belgium
Globales Caraïbes, MIAM (Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sète, France)
French Scene, Brussels, Belgium.
Shapes, Shades and Shadows, Brussels, Belgium.

Global Caribbean - Miami Art Basel, group show, official Art Basel Miami Beach program, Little Haïti Complex, Miami, US
X BIENAL Habana, Integración y Resistencia en la Era Global, Centro de Desarrollo de Artes Visuales, group show Latitudes 7, Havana, Cuba, Caribbean
Kreyol Factory, group show, Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris, France
Latitudes 7,MAC Panama - Museo de arte contemporaneo, Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá
Un Musée imaginaire lacanien, La Cambre, Brussels, Belgium
Latitudes 7, Pavillon de la Ville de Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, Caribbean