Ouattara Watts

Magazzino Roma

There are still artists who believe strongly in painting, in its language, in its ability to create imaginative worlds. One such is Ouattara Watts, born in Ivory Coast and now living and working in New York. His work undoubtedly brings to mind the neo-expressionist painting of the ’80s—that of Cucchi, Schnabel, Basquiat, and Penck, to mention a few. Watts reconnects with that period and, with great pictorial skill, investigates archetypes and symbols. For instance, he draws on the imaginative vocabulary of the Senufo religion that he learned as a child as well as modernist icons—the shorthand emblem for the atom, for example. Whatever their origin, the forms that appear in these paintings seem to be individuated and comprehended at the moment of their germination. The artist interprets space as rhythm, as a continuous blossoming of elements in perpetual transformation, and utilizes

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