Mounou Désiré Koffi

Ivory Coast

Mounou Désiré Koffi (1994) is an emerging visual artist from Ivory Coast, who not only uses mobile phone keyboards to express the concept of technological evolution, but also raises the accompanying issue of technological obsolescence and environmental pollution as well as other observations such as floods, traffic jams, child soldiers, or simply urban identities passing by.

Africa is a unique source of inspiration, this is where it all began for me. Most of my paintings talk about the daily life of man in society. I work on what challenges me and what is topical⁠”⁠

Artworks

Portrait

Mounou Desiré Koffi (1994), born from a farmers family in the South-West of Ivory Coast, stood out at a young age for his drawing and painting talent, which eventually landed him at the Academy of Fina Arts in Abidjan, where he graduated in painting. Already in his bachelor years, he picked up his fascination for recycling materials, notably mobile phone materials. 

He noted that vast numbers of old mobile phones were littering the streets of Abidjan, becoming dangerous waste for children to play with. So he started a project to give these phones a second life by integrating them into bright coloured pop art paintings about urban street life in Abidjan. Since then his exploration has taken him to different ways of expression, both in subjects and materials with one constant: the use of recycled mobile keypads. In that he expresses not only the concept of technological evolution, but also raises the accompanying issue of technological obsolescence and environmental pollution as well as other issues of our time.

By now he has not only raised awareness about the environmental pollution but also recycled many tens of thousands of mobile keypads in his works. He pays a team to gather the mobile phones from the streets in large quantities, whilst people in Abidjan increasingly deposit their old phones with the team for free. Similar projects are being considered in other African countries such as Benin, Mali of Guinea.  

His art works have further developed into varying series from urban landscapes to the urban identities he observes in daily Abidjan life. Figurative silhouettes combining the keypads on different surfaces, such as canvas, wood or iron gauze screens.

In his latest series, Mounou combines human silhouettes and inverses of silhouettes of mobile keypads in textile works on recycled jute and natural linen in earthy tones, covered with coloured acrylic prints which call for tolerance and peace.  

Despite his young age, Mounou has been recognized early on in his career. He has participated in various solo exhibition and group exhibitions way beyond Ivory Coast, notably in Senegal, Morocco, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands and UK.

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Solo Exhibitions
2022

Comme unique, Fondation BJKD, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Life there, Donwahi Foundation, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

2021

Mercredy Arty, Yemaya Design, Pullman Hotel, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

 

2019

L’Innocence, galerie iLAB-Design, Genève, Switzerland

Regards croisés, duo solo with Kim Bennani at Terre Océane, Loft Art Galery & Yamed Promotion, Casablanca, Morocco

Disconnection, Galerie Art-z, Paris, France

Group exhibitions
2022

DAF Frankfurt, via OpenArtExchange, Frankfurt, Germany

Africa Now II, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam (Rotterdam), Netherlands

Soufle d’Afrique (Breath of Africa), So Art gallery, Casablance, Morocco

Africa – The renaissance on the move, Blaise Senghor Cultural center/Dak’Art OFF, OBART/ART Kelen/Jérémy Cauden, Dakar, Senegal

2021

Rio Loco art festival, Toulouse City hall, Toulouse, France

2020

African art acution, Bonham, London, United Kingdom

2019

GRAPA ed3, collective l’AKAFA, galerie Pascal Polar, Brussels, Belgium

African art auction Piasa, Paris, France

Group show III, Gallery ArtTime, Abidjan, Ivory Coast/online

Donkey Art Gallery, Tangier, Morocco

2018

Exhibition and auction Child soldiers, Hotel Drouot/Invisable Borders Foundation and Afikaris/Nelly Wandji Gallery, Paris, France

GRAPA ed2, collective l’AKAFA/Kevin Michel at galerie Ravenstein, Brussels, Belgium

Residencies

2022

OpenArtExchange, Schiedam (Rotterdam), Netherlands

 

Collections

Jeremy Cauden, Ivory Coast

Mattia Starace, Belgium