Chert is delighted to be participating in this year ́s Lafayette – Fiac with a presentation of new works by Zora Mann. The show, titled Cosmophagy, comprises of a curtain closing off the entrance of the stand, which conceals 3 colorful paintings.
The curtain is made out of recycled flip-flops that are found littered on the beaches and waterways of Kenya. Flip-flops are one of the largest marine pollutants along the beaches of the Indian Ocean. Marine conservationist Julie Church initiated the project in the late nineties and today there are several artisans in Kenya working on recycling these materials. The artist herself worked on this project years ago during one of her stays in Kenya.
The immense quantity and variety of flip-flops are collected, cleaned and cut into small round bits, which are then strung together to form a mosaic like drawing. These patterns follow her characteristics style of intuitive patterns, subconscious dreamy-like imagery and ornamental elegance; all of her works carry references to her personal journey through many different places and cultures.
Zora Star Cahusac Mann was born in Amersham UK in 1979, from African born parents (her mother is from Uganda and her father is from Kenya). She grew up traveling between Europe, Africa and America, where her family moved during her infancy following a hippie movement. After relocating to Germany at age 13 she started a modeling career, which continued successfully for 11 years after which she decided to quit the fashion business and study art.
Mann is an atypical contemporary artist, her work being at the peripherals of craft-art and contemporary Western art, where ‘decoration’ is mainly consider non-art. Her point of view challenges a very true cultural paradox: what is for Western people meaningless ornamental creations, is for tribal cultures full of references, spirit, implications and allusions.
Her work is attracting yet at the same time difficult to place, almost impossible to frame into the contemporary art complex, giving her persona an aura of ambiguity typical of the “artist ́s artists” figure.