- ‘Chasing Spirits’ is a collaboration is between British-born Christian Furr and Côte d’Ivoire-born Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba.
- Artwork forms part of the duo’s 2017 ‘Canival’ collection.
- The Contemporary Discoveries Auction took place at Sotheby’s New York
London, 24th August 2022: A joint-artwork by world-renowned “millennial art-market sensations” Christian Furr and Aboudia is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s New York. The piece, ‘Chasing Spirits’ is a collaboration between the British-born Furr and the African artist Aboudia, and makes up part of their 2017 ‘Canival’ collection of paintings and drawings, created between the artists’ studios in New York, London and Abidjan.
The multi-award-winning Furr first shot to fame at just 28, after he was personally chosen by Queen Elizabeth II to paint her portrait at Buckingham Palace – the youngest artist ever to do so. A commissioned portrait of Sultan, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia followed in 2008; while his other collaborations have included a 2017 project with English photographer Gered Mankowitz, resulting in artistic re-renderings of Mankowitz’s photos of The Rolling Stones, Kate Bush and Jimi Hendrix among others. Truth, he says, is an integral part of an artist’s work. “Being an artist is a state of being,” he says. “A way of life. Any little thing – chance or otherwise can be interesting material.”
The Brooklyn-based Aboudia, real name Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, was born in 1983 in Côte d’Ivoire. Dubbed a “millennial art-market sensation”, his large, vibrant, brightly coloured, mixed-media artworks depict street scenes from Abidjan, the Côte d’Ivoire capital, while also taking inspiration from local children’s graffiti and traditional African carvings. In 2011, following the country’s civil war after a contested presidential election, he made the street his studio: the images of skulls, soldiers, mourners and bullets that found their way into his paintings bearing testament to unspeakable brutality and chaos, along with the caskets labelled ‘enfants.’
His graffiti-influenced expressionist paintings, which have been acquired by many important collectors such as the Saatchi Gallery and the Jean Pigozzi Collection of African Art, and have generated more than $10 million at auction just for the year 2021.
His large-scale, vibrant works have drawn comparisons with Jean-Michel Basquiat, of whom Aboudia says, “He was a great artist for whom I have great respect, and the comparison is an honour.” However, as he stresses, “I’m doing something totally different. When I was working, there wasn’t even internet in my city. I had never heard of Basquiat. Yes, perhaps you can see some of the same ideologies and other eccentricities, but even twins don’t have the same fingerprints. My inspiration comes from the streets and from the fact that children are writing their stories on the walls.”
Furr and Aboudia’s collaborations have also drawn comparisons with that between Basquiat and Andy Warhol – another reference point Aboudia is keen to downplay. “I think that we should be trying to stop these binary distinctions being made between African and European art,” he says. “Art doesn’t have borders… Art should be a source of union and solidarity. Someone who doesn’t know me, when they look at these paintings, might think that perhaps they are by an Asian or American artist – there is no way to know. So, we must work to consider art as a single entity, and we can move forward by transforming the world with colours.” -Alt-Africa
“Being synonymous with sharing, the encounter between Aboudia and Christian Furr pegs the notions of popular culture, considering art as a unique entity, capable of transforming the world through colour: Created between the studios in New York London and Abidjan, The “Canival” collection is the result of a rich collaboration where the landscapes of the Ivory Coast communicate with English sensibility of Christian Furr. Known for having painted the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Christian Furr is an innovative and eclectic artist. His figurative, soft and dreamlike style has found inspiration and emotion in Aboudia’s violent expression and vibrant colours. Representing street scenes in Abidjan, the paintings presented show an indescribable brutality and chaos were the innocent and spontaneous relationship of the two artists combine to seduce you.” - Artcurial 2021