Joël Andrianomearisoa’s work is built around a non-explicit, often abstract narrative which everyone perceives, yet cannot put a name to. His world of forms weaves his work into sequences often mired in a deep sadness caused by an absence that is impossible to fill.
He does this by using, in no particular hierarchical order, sound in its immaterial dimension or the book in its hyper materiality, silky fabrics or rough plastic, black or the most vibrant of colours.
His experience in Aubusson, where he created a tapestry that took six months’ work to complete, reflects this complexity, interweaving a flat figuration sketch with the thickest knots of an unknown drama.
Joël Andrianomearisoa’s work has developed over time through different artistic mediums and materials. In recent years, his creations have often been made from textiles, paper, sometimes wood, minerals, or from surprising objects such as mirrors, perfumes, packaging or stamps, with which he reinvents magic and evokes emotions.
Joël Andrianomearisoa was born in 1977 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Today, he lives and works between Paris, in the village of Magnat-l’Étrange in the Creuse departement and Antananarivo.
He grew up during the socialist revolution and began his training at art school. He was torn between fine arts and design, and eventually enrolled at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris in 1997. There he met the architect Jean-Loup Pivin who founded the Revue Noire, a quarterly magazine specialising in contemporary African art, and Simon Njamin, the Cameroonian writer and art critic who is influential throughout Africa. One of his performances was featured on the cover of Revue Noire in September 1997. In 2005 he graduated in architecture having studied under Odile Decq with whom he shared a taste for the colour black and the notion that the discipline was ripe for reform, as it is all too often restricted by a strict institutional framework that is resistant to change. He presented a rather unusual graduation project that combined graphic design and textiles. In his opinion, fabric is a universal medium.
Along with other pioneering artists of contemporary Malagasy art, he actively contributes to the cultural development of his country. Among other projects, in 1996 he was named best new talent at the first Manja Fashion Festival and in 2015 he showed an exhibition entitled Parlez-moi (Speak to me). For the group exhibition 30 et Presque-Songes (30 and almost dreams) in 2011, he brought together thirty artists at the Maison Revue Noire in Paris. In 2016 he won the 4th Audemars Piguet prize for his work Le Labyrinthe des Passions at the 35th ARCO Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid. He was the first non-Spanish artist to be awarded this prize. His project was a diptych made up of a large piece in white silk paper and its black twin which evoked a variety of emotions including melancholy, passionate love and nostalgia. This reflection was based on the opposition between blinding light and complete darkness, which are both in fact driven by the same forces. The artist wanted to present a piece which “is not a melancholy meditation on love and loss, but a powerful recognition of the possibility of staying alive when surrounded by cruel and brutal forces.”
In 2019 he was the obvious choice to represent Madagascar when the country took part in the Venice Biennale for the first time. He presented the installation J’ai oublié la nuit (I've forgotten the night), an assemblage of nine organic skies, that tumble down in a black cascade of bags, ropes and dark ashes.
He has exhibited his work on all five continents in institutions that include the Maxxi in Rome, the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, the Smithsonian in Washington and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Joël Andrianomearisoa is represented by the galleries RX (Paris), Sabrina Amrani (Madrid) and Primo Marella (Milan).