stage候台BACK is pleased to participate with a solo project by Bili Bidjocka at Art Genève, presenting recent works from his first exhibition in China « …Do Not Take It, Do Not Eat It, This Is Not My Body… » ), that was held during the 9th Shanghai Biennale in October 2012. This project is made possible in co-production with Gallery Olivier Robert.

We hope to welcome you!

Bili Bidjocka, "Dis-ambiguation Nr 3", digital print on ceramic plate, 40 cm diameter, 2012

Denied transubstantiation

The body has played a major role in the history of art. In contemporary art, however, it is invested with new meanings that go beyond the notion of traditional portraiture. The body can now convey a different kind of narration. In his work, Bili Bidjocka has always leaned towards absence, immateriality. In the series of works entitled This is not my body, he chose to introduce an embodiment he refuses as soon as it appears before us. His Shanghai presentation is paradigmatic in this respect, representing the Communion table as an empty space without guests. It is a conspicuous message: the body, or at least the body parts printed on these plates, are foreign to him. The body no longer belongs to its owner and becomes a metaphor. The embodiment of the self is here something that the viewer must approach and grasp in all the complexity of its multiple dimensions. The body becomes matter. Paradoxically, it is this embodiment which transforms it into an abstraction, as Henri-Pierre Jeudi appropriately notes: "The images of the body do not affect the body as a separate entity, they befall simultaneously as images of the world. Language can only build random classifications, which will invariably lend a near-delusional meaning to the interpretation. To some extent, the collision of body images reveals the absence of a proper body language. Indeed, the ways in which the body is spoken already implies a negation of the image by the implicit objectification of meaning" .

This fractured body is not black. It only becomes so when claimed as such. And the message it conveys is not its own entirely. It is a blank canvas, a connecting passage between the artist and the viewer, between the personal and the public spheres. It is the centre of an eternal conflict, deeply fed by the negotiation of the contradictory notion of perception. On the one side, there is the perceived body, the conveyed image and, on the other one, the interpretation thereof. Mastering this dual reality demands amplifying its meaning. We should do so to avoid the misunderstandings, stereotypes and misconceptions that accompany any idea of representation. By denying his exposed body, Bili Bidjocka refuses the mediumistic operation of transubstantiation. By cutting his body into thirteen parts, incarnating Christ and its Twelve Apostles, his inner reality dissolves in detail. He is no longer there. Vanished and gone. Once again, we are faced with the absence, because what our eyes should contemplate lies beyond the realm of visibility. We should, as suggested by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida, "close our eyes to see better". 

Simon Njami, January 2013

Henri-Pierre Jeudi, The body as an object of art, Paris, Armand Collin / Masson, 1998

Bili Bidjocka, "Dis-ambiguation Nr 6, 11, 9", digital print on ceramic plate, 40 cm diameter, 2012


Art Genève, PALEXPO SA, Route Francois-Peyrot 30, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/GE, Switzerland.

Opening hours:

Thursday  January 31, 12h – 20h 
Friday  February 01,  12h – 20h
Saturday February 02, 12h – 20h
Sunday  February 03,  12h – 20h