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Artist, Collective

Samb Issa

  • CountrySenegal
  • Born1945
  • Died2017


Issa Samb was born in 1945 in Senegal and lives in Dakar.

He studied art at Institut National des Arts and philosophy, law, and sociology at Université de Dakar in the late 1960s. In 1974 he founded, together with a group of artists, writers, film- makers, performance artists and musicians, the Laboratoire Agit’Art, whose aim was to transform the nature of artistic practice from a formalist, object-bound sensibility to practices based on experimentation and agitation, process rather than product, ephemerality rather than permanence. With a focus on the contingent character of actions, Laboratoire Agit’Art was informed by a critique of institutional power. He lives among his artworks in his courtyard-home-studio, which combines all sorts of objects: a permanent exhibition that varies on a daily basis.

Samb has never sought to be exhibited, preferring to show his works in his studio to escape the conformism of exhibition spaces. He nevertheless co-founded Galerie Tenq – Village des Arts. He is the author of numerous plays, poems and essays.

A retrospective of his work was held at the National Art Gallery, Dakar in 2010. His work has been included in exhibitions such as dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, 2012, Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain, Dak’Art, Dakar, 2008 and ‘Seven Stories of Modern Art in Africa‘, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1995. Word!Word?Word! Issa Samb and the undecipherable form, his first solo exhibition in Europe was on view at OCA, Office of Contemporary Norway in 2013.

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