Chloé Quenum
Les Allégories

Les Allégories create abstractions from fragments of wax textile motifs (a fabric widely used in sub-Saharan Africa), which are transposed into the technique of stained glass. The artist brings together symbolic elements from distinct cultures that share a tradition of visual narrative. An analogy thus takes shape between the iconographic function of stained glass, which in the Middle Ages was used to tell stories, and the social function of the ideograms represented on African cloths. This series appears as a formal abstraction, originating from Chloé Quenum’s research in West Africa (Benin and Togo) on notions of origin and transmission through fabrics. The systems and graphic compositions on wax fabrics have specific meanings. Transposed onto stained glass, the light reflection and glass vibrations displace the reading of these patterns from their original context.

The works of Chloé Quenum draw their inspirations and forms across multiple fields and cultural domains. She appropriates them in order to shift uses and generate new formal and symbolic identities. Recently, the artist traveled to West Africa where she became interested in the relationship between weaving techniques and their symbolic correspondence in terms of narratives and codification.