Ouattara Watts

Ouattara Watts

French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)

Outtara Watts, Matrix 00B, 2005. Mixed media, 2.6 x 2m. © Outtara Watts.

January 12, 2013

Ouattara Watts
The Project Room

Thursday, January 24–Saturday, February 23, 2013

22 East 60th Street
between Park and Madison Avenues
New York, NY
Free and open to the public

T 212 355 6100


The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premier French cultural center, is thrilled to present The Project Room, an exhibition of new large-scale mixed-media paintings by Ouattara Watts, on view at FIAF from January 24 through February 23, 2013. 

With vibrant colors, dynamic shapes, and hypnotic signs and symbols, Ouattara Watts explores the spiritual bonds that transcend geography and nationality. 

Watts first made his mark on the New York art scene with a highly acclaimed debut solo show at Gagosian Gallery that the New York Times praised as “exhilarating” and “a knockout.” His work incorporates cryptic ideograms, religious and multicultural symbols, numeric and scientific equations, and floating abstractions. Merging objets trouvés, photography, and other media, Watts’s paintings invoke the artist’s multinational identity to invite diverse social and historical readings.

In recent work presented at Documenta, the Whitney Biennial, and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Watts integrates signs and symbols from spiritual literature to articulate a complex international sensibility. He has developed a wide vocabulary of symbols and forms—ranging from visual to linguistic, numeric, and scientific—with which he communicates his dynamic vision. With lyricism and wit, Watts conjures imaginative worlds and magical visions, both urban and ancestral, to contemplate the metaphysical relationship between the individual and his environment.

“My vision is not based on any country or continent; it’s beyond geography or what can be seen on a map. Even though my pictorial elements can be located, so they can be better understood, this is about something much wider. My paintings refer to the Cosmos.” Ouattara Watts

About Ouattara Watts
Born in the Ivory Coast, Ouattara Watts studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. There he met fellow artist and friend Jean-Michel Basquiat, who encouraged Watts to move to New York. Ouattara Watts has exhibited internationally, including at Documenta 11 in Kassel; the Whitney Biennial in New York; the Venice Biennale; the Hess Collection in Paarl, California; and the New Museum in New York. His work was included in Body of Evidence at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994 at MoMA PS1 in New York. Watts currently lives and works in New York City.

About the Visual Arts at FIAF
Since its opening in April 2007, the FIAF exhibition space has been an invaluable addition to the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and its cultural programs. It provides a significant platform for cultural discourse between American and Francophone artists and cultures. 

About FIAF
FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression. 

Subway: 4, 5, 6, N, R and Q to 59th Street & Lexington Avenue; F to 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue; Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, Q31 to 59th Street; M5 to 58th Street.

Media contact: Natascha Bodemann, T 646 388 6677 / nbodemann [​at​] fiaf.org

Ouattara Watts at French Institute Alliance Française
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French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)
January 12, 2013

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