Frigg Toss is a mixed media artist designer who lives and works in Cotonou. This young Beninese, born in 1997, wants to be a precursor by making his art a tribute to the purity and experimentation without falling into the conceptual exercise. His multidisciplinary approach (vector drawing, sculpture and photography) highlights this predisposition to adapt.
If it is multidisciplinary, the work of Frigg Toss is no less coherent. Whether in vector drawing, sculpture or photography, his artistic approach is identical and already marks an affirmation, an artistic identity of his own. Often the first works lack assurance, which is logical, but for our young Beninese we already feel the imprint of a style, a signature.
Whatever the medium, whatever the material, we always come back to the same evidence, to an approach carrying diversity and coherence, a sense of reality and imagination, poetry and gravity, intimacy and freedom. Frigg Toss cultivates and masters these paradoxes wonderfully.
His work is finally beginning to interest gallery owners and cultural operators. He has just finished his first solo exhibition in Douala and is showing six of his drawings in the inaugural exhibition of 5 Mondes Gallery.
Frigg Toss is resolutely part of the FREEART movement which, without rejecting academicism, is inspired by it to reappropriate it and even bring a new language to it. This freedom that he claims leads him to a timeless modernity and a sense of purity that without being minimalist are meaningful. This gentle break with conformism leads him to take an interest in the various possibilities offered by computers to create and impose himself as a working tool in the same way as the brush.
If Frigg Toss often refers to the artist Stromae it is not by chance. Like the Belgian-Rwandan singer who tackles themes as serious as they are unique, he holds an emancipatory discourse through his works.The quest for identity, self-esteem, the view of the other, open-mindedness, Africa in mutation, technological development and more particularly digital are at the heart of his approach.
To bring together gesture and intention, he develops a series of works in the form of vector drawings that he has previously composed and transposed onto canvas. The characters stand out on black or colored backgrounds, on patterns created by the artist himself. He portrays a youth whose aspirations are promising, a youth attached to his continent but very connected to the rest of the world and whose references go beyond borders.
Sculpture is the second side of Frigg’s talent and there too he succeeds in the unexpected by proposing works featuring characters in balance as if to underline their fragility, their emotionality, their difference. The artist’s prowess lies both in the choice of materials (sand, wood, iron, fabrics) and in an aesthetic of incredible precision. There is a lightness, a kind of weightlessness that does not hide a deep need to give voice to the misunderstood, to the sentimentally or physically handicapped, to those of the «margin». In this the artist’s work is of a confounding humanity.
Frigg Toss does not stop there because photography is also part of his world. The artist addresses here the paradoxes of our society by presenting «people» with masked faces so as not to represent a visible reality but a reality of moral order.
He has already had the opportunity to present some pictures, notably the series Children of the other world where he makes photography and vector drawing cohabit at the risk of disconcerting the public and the purists. These city and street children are invisible souls whose wandering is commonplace in African society. If the black and white symbolize the fatality, the non-existence of these beings in survival, the colorful treatment of the few clothes they wear resonates as a call for attention, compassion and help.
Gallery of the Carré des artistes, Bonapriso
Douala – Cameroon
BEFORE THE FRONT
5 MONDES GALLERY – Bamako, Mali
Galerie Atilebart – UBA Cotonou, Benin
IDENTITY MARKS (Reissue)
Atilebart Gallery – Cotonou, Benin
Atilebart Gallery – Cotonou, Benin
FARA (Festival of Street Arts of Assouindé)
Foundation The house of the artist – Assinie, Ivory Coast
«Plasticians and unknown universes’’
Gallery of the Media Library of Diasporas – Cotonou, Benin
RESIDENCIES AND WORKSHOPS
Artistic residency at the Fondation la Maison
des artistes (FARA 2) Assinie, Ivory Coast
Comic book workshop
French Institute of Cotonou, Benin
Artistic creation workshop
Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Benin
NGO Inov ART, Cotonou, Benin