Jean Laurent Koné Zie

born 1979 in Boundiali, Ivory Coast
Lives and works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

The artist Jean Laurent Koné Zié lives and works in Bingerville, a suburb of the economic capital Abidjan in Ivory Coast. The work of Koné Zie is strongly inspired by the african material and immaterial culture. The main theme of his work is the relationship of man to society, community and spirituality in Africa. He himself describes his intention as follows: "I try to show the importance of my culture through my creations. I believe that we as Africans are the foundation for the development of African countries. As an artist, I have to guide, educate and sensitize people to important issues."

Many of Kone Zie paintings show groups or even crowds of people, but the position he seems to be taking is not one of the condescending observer who believes the society needs to be educated, but the one of the sensitive and compassionate member of this society, who sees it in all of its multitude, complicity and diversity and acknowledges its difficulties and its beauty. Other themes he deals with are the relationships between spouses or between children and mothers. The complexity of these relationships is shown in the interactions between the persons he paints - sometimes they seem to be communicating with each other, but sometimes they avoid one another and turn their faces away.

His approach to painting methods and his selection of media corresponds with the complexity of his subjects. In his work he combines semi-abstract and semi-figurative pictorial tendencies with traditional Dogon sculptures and Senoufo statues as well as various graphic and floral patterns, sometimes inspired by African wax and pagne fabric. The surfaces are made up of many fragments - cuttings of paper, magazines, fabric - which form an overall composition. His multi-layered paintings offer a simultaneity of images and meanings that lead to a continuous discourse with each other and with the viewer. In each view the eye picks up one or the other layer and discovers a new detail. His inspiration comes from the French artist Dubuffet, as from the first Ivorian generation of painters after independence (Vohou-Vohou, James Houra, Stenka).

Graduated from ENBA (École Nationale des Beaux-Arts) in Abidjan in 2003, he also holds a Bachelor in art history and archaeology from the University of Abidjan. Koné Zie had his first exhibition at the Museum of Korhogo in 1998, his paintings are regularly exhibited locally and internationally and his works are represented in major collections, for example the Imago Mundi - Luciano Benetton Collection.

Biography / CV