Josèfa Ntjam Unknown Aquazone, 2020. Photomontage, printed plexiglass, clay. Courtesy of the artist. Exhibition view « Anticorps », Palais de Tokyo (23.10.2020 – 03.01.2021). Photo credit: Aurélien Mole
Josèfa Ntjam’s technique of choice is montage. Photomontage, of course, but also montage of voices and times. The work she shows in the exhibition is an aquarium, but an aquarium stripped out of its scientific or decorative functions. The Unknown Aquazone is a capsule containing a mythical past and new futures in preparation.
Josèfa Ntjam draws here on a variety of water-related myths, from Mami Wata, voodoo figure and fish-woman divinity venerated in much of Africa, to the ultra-technological universe created by the Detroit electro-musicians Drexcyia in the 1990s, the Drexcyians being an imaginary people living in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, descendants of the pregnant African women thrown into the sea from slave ships.
Josèfa Ntjam uses performance, video, installation and writing to give life to vegetal, animal and cyborg creatures whose doings rehearse black and feminist struggles. Inspired by African and alternative futures as well as the digital culture of her upbringing, she seeks to build a world full of images and myths to create the spaces in which new futures are prepared.