Print Baryté Pigments, 44x30 cm (48x33) 06/07ex

Revue Noire

A history of contemporary African art

In the 1990s, Revue Noire was much more than simply a publication, it was a window onto Africa’s dynamic cultural scene. This exhibition revisits its new way of writing and introducing different forms of contemporary creativity from the African continent. It comprises a selection of artworks, and in particular, a panorama of photographs by African photographers, which demonstrates the range and various historical facets of African photography.

Almost thirty years ago the first issue of Revue Noire was published, founded by Jean-Loup Pivin, Simon Njami, Pascal Martin Saint-Léon, and Bruno Tilliette. Their wish was to convey the modernity and creativity of the African continent. Funded primarily by its founders, for nearly ten years, from 1991 to 2000, through thirty-five issues, this quarterly publication went beyond the remit of many magazines, widely representing African artists, who were little known in the West, and touching on all forms of expression: from visual arts to fashion, from literature to cinema, from photography to design, and dance.

Until the early 1990s, Africa was portrayed by Western reporters as an untouched continent, wild and wretched, part ethnography as spectacle and part horrified reporting on misery and war. African photography, insofar as it was able to distance itself from these preconceived ideas, was almost unknown in the West. Many artists from Africa are now considered as artists, rather than "African artists". Although Revue Noire was not the only publication to have contributed to this development, it helped greatly in bringing increased recognition to African creators, not only in other cultures, but also in the African scene.

Twenty years on, this exhibition is casting a look back over the ten or so years that the journal criss-crossed Africa and other continents, with its issues devoted to Senegal and Benin, for example, but also the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. This journal is significant for its recognition of African art and in its way of working, an interpreter for the contemporary creation of a whole continent. Today Revue Noire is continuing its journey by publishing art books.

This exhibition is part of the programme of Une Saison Photo à Toulouse.

In pictures

L'histoire de "Revue Noire" vue par deux de ses fondateurs

Simon Njami et Jean Loup Pivin

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