TCHIF TCHIAKPE

Painter | Benin

Tchif (aka Francis Nicaise Tchiakpe) is an experimental colorist pur sang. In his abstract expressionist  ‘total’ compositions, he explores freely various mediums such as acrylic, oil, pigments, ink and collage with textile fibers, paper or any other materials on canvas.  His works emerge in various organic layers to which he adds his own symbolic language. That results in beautiful  color compositions, full of nuance, movement and depth, estranged dream worlds in which there is a lot to discover.

I want to show the ferocity and
enigmatic beauty of life.
Like the late Chinese painter Zao Woo-ki, in this fusion of materials and colors. I want to rather paint what you can sense but not see: the breath of life, the wind, the movement.

PORTRAIT

Tchif (1973, Cotonou), also known as Francis Nicaise Tchiakpe, has been drawing and painting since the early age of 10. As most artists in Benin, he has developed himself as an autodidact. Starting off as a caricaturist for newspaper ‘La Nation’, he soon expanded his world of ink on paper and photography with painting on canvas,  experimenting with different mediums. From early on he managed a successful independent art practice, exhibiting his first solo when he was only 21, crossing over to Europe the year after.


Tchif is an experimental colorist pur sang. In his abstract expressionist  ‘total’ compositions, he explores freely various mediums such as acrylic, oil, natural pigments, ink and collage with textile fibers, paper or any other materials on canvas. His works emerge in various organic layers to which he adds his own symbolic language. Tchif: “I work barefoot on the ground. On the ground, I feel more comfortable. I feel closer to the painting, I am part of it. Sometimes I trample my works, to ‘tan’ them”. 


That results in beautiful colour compositions in red ochres, blues, yellows, and other earthy colors, full of nuance, movement and depth. Estranged dream worlds in which there is a lot to discover. In Tchif’s world, life itself unfolds, centered around man and his relationship with the universe around him. A world full of movement, bright and dark sides, plunging depths, intriguing symbols and lines as cryptic indications of the complex laws that govern life: the cross represents suffering; the circle, the continuity of man; the zigzags, the joys and difficulties of life. Lines representing the random traces living species left behind, like compressed visualised poems adrift in the atmosphere, questioning life itself.


Firmly rooted and based in Cotonou/Benin, Tchif has built up an impressive artistic career over the years. He belongs to the national top of the contemporary art scene in Benin, where he is recognised as a permanent artist of the National Gallery – Contemporary Benin. 


He is also well recognised internationally and has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. He not only exhibited in a wide range of countries on the African continent, such as Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Fasso, Niger, Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Guinea and Morocco, but also way beyond in US, Brazil, Venezuela, Japan and across Europe in France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal. 


His works are included in various professional collections and have been shown in several musea in Benin, US, Brazil, France and Belgium, a.o. the prestigious National museum for African art  Smithsonian in Washington.

Tchif (1973, Cotonou), also known as Francis Nicaise Tchiakpe, has been drawing and painting since the early age of 10. As most artists in Benin, he has developed himself as an autodidact. Starting off as a caricaturist for newspaper ‘La Nation’, he soon expanded his world of ink on paper and photography with painting on canvas,  experimenting with different mediums. From early on he managed a successful independent art practice, exhibiting his first solo when he was only 21, crossing over to Europe the year after.


Tchif is an experimental colorist pur sang. In his abstract expressionist  ‘total’ compositions, he explores freely various mediums such as acrylic, oil, natural pigments, ink and collage with textile fibers, paper or any other materials on canvas. His works emerge in various organic layers to which he adds his own symbolic language. Tchif: “I work barefoot on the ground. On the ground, I feel more comfortable. I feel closer to the painting, I am part of it. Sometimes I trample my works, to ‘tan’ them”. 


That results in beautiful colour compositions in red ochres, blues, yellows, and other earthy colors, full of nuance, movement and depth. Estranged dream worlds in which there is a lot to discover. In Tchif’s world, life itself unfolds, centered around man and his relationship with the universe around him. A world full of movement, bright and dark sides, plunging depths, intriguing symbols and lines as cryptic indications of the complex laws that govern life: the cross represents suffering; the circle, the continuity of man; the zigzags, the joys and difficulties of life. Lines representing the random traces living species left behind, like compressed visualised poems adrift in the atmosphere, questioning life itself.

Firmly rooted and based in Cotonou/Benin, Tchif has built up an impressive artistic career over the years. He belongs to the national top of the contemporary art scene in Benin, where he is recognised as a permanent artist of the National Gallery – Contemporary Benin. 

He is also well recognised internationally and has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. He not only exhibited in a wide range of countries on the African continent, such as Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Fasso, Niger, Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Guinea and Morocco, but also way beyond in US, Brazil, Venezuela, Japan and across Europe in France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal. 

His works are included in various professional collections and have been shown in several musea in Benin, US, Brazil, France and Belgium, a.o. the prestigious National museum for African art  Smithsonian in Washington. 

WORKS

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CREDENTIALS

Solo exhibitions

2019

  • AFRICA through ART INITIATIVE, Edge of Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
  • AFRICA through ART INITIATIVE, Zou no Hana terrace, Yokohama, Japan

2017

  • Collection “Africa my name’s Job”, Cotonou, Benin

2015

  • Pointe à pitre, Guadeloupe
  • Galerie Fremeaux, Vincennes, France
  • Galerie Vallois, Paris

2014

  • “Eau, Feu et Terre”, Barcelona, Spain

2013

  • Exposition Zik Zac Festival, Aix en Provence, France
  • Inauguration Galerie Tempo, Marseille, France
  • Galerie Omenka, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Mode is ART, Cotonou, Benin

2012

  • Expositie Résidence d’artiste, Kourou, Guyane

2010

  • Foot Culture – Installations photos, Espace Tchif,  Cotonou, Benin

2008

  • Galerie Cardinal, Ajaccio, Corsica

2007

  • Exposition « Musée des Arts Derniers », Paris, France

2004

  • Galerie Alizé, Brussels, Belgium
  • Galerie Huijs Basten, Asbeck-Groenlo, Nederland

2003

  • IESA, Paris, France

2002

  • Galerie Regards, Croisés, Paris, France
  • Galerie d’art contemporain, Isle-sur-Sorgue, France

2001

  • Elf Village, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

1999

  • « Visages d’Afrique », Galerie ABC, Dijon, France
  • « Autocritique », Centre Culturel Français, Cotonou, Benin

1998

  • Galerie Espace Rivage, Paris, France
  • « Rêve d’un marabout », Ambassade de France, Cotonou, Benin

1997

  • MJC, Vieux Lyon, France

1996

  • GTZ, Cotonou, Benin

1995

  • « Zemidjans », Galerie l’Atelier, Cotonou, Benin

Group exhibitions

2024
  • "Gléhoué - Home of the earth", OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, Netherlands
2023
  • Révélation ! Art Contemporain du Bénin, Martinique 
  • Art du Bénin, D’hier et d’Aujourd’hui : De La Restitution à la Révélation,Musée Mohammed VI, Rabat, Maroc
2022
  • DAF Frankfurt via OpenArtExchange, Frankfurt, Germany 
  • Art The Hague via OpenArtExchange, The Hague, Netherlands 
  • Africa Now II, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam (Rotterdam) – The Netherlands 
  • Essence et résilience, Dak’Art biennale OFF, Dakar, Senegal Dyptique, Le Présidence du Benin, Cotonou, Benin Regards D’afrique, Conakry, Guinée
  • Art du Bénin, D’hier et d’Aujourd’hui : De La Restitution à la Révélation, Présidence de la République, Cotonou, Bénin

 2021 

  • « Contemporary Bénin», Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  • Expo Sobebra for 60 years independence of Benin

2018

  • ART PARIS 2018, Paris, France
  • 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Marrakech 2018, Morocco
  • ViewPoints on Africa’s Arts Washington. Washington DC, USA

2017

  • AKAA Paris 2017, Paris, France

2016

  • Art fair PARIS, Paris, France
  • Centre d’art contemporain de Tanlay, France
  • So art et design, Megève, France
  • Carte et identité cloitre des billettes, Paris, France

2015

  • Art St Germain des Près, galerie Vallois, Paris, France

2014

  • Art fair DUBAI 2014, Dubai, UAE
  • Monumental Africa-Maestri d’Africa in terra d’Umbria_Centro Espositivo Rocca Paolina Perugia, Italy
  • Earth day Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, USA
  • Koton’oo Dak’ART OFF, Galerie Arte, Dakar, Senegal 
  • Fleuve en couleurs, Saint-louis, Senegal
  • Vivres Domaine de chamarande, Essonne, France
  • Africa-Africans, Museum Afro-Brasil, Sao Paolo, Brasil

2013-2014

  • Blank Canvas, Art Twenty One, Lagos, Nigeria

2013

  • Earth Matters, National Museum of African Art / Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA

2012 & 2010

  • Biennale Bénin, Cotonou, Bénin

2009

  • Africa ancestral e contemporanea, Centro municipal de Arte Helio Citica, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

2008

  • « O Benin está ainda là », Museum Afro-Brasil, São Paulo, Brasil
  • Créafrique 3 Méjannes, Le Clap, France
  • Expresiones Africanas “Fondation Daniel Suarez”, Caracas, Vénézuéla
  • Espace d’art, Centre culturel Jacques Brel, Thionville, France
  • 2ème Salon d’Art Contemporain, Brussels,  Belgium
  • Bénin Corps et Ame, Multimedia library, Melun, France
  • Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Bénin
  • Un monde “Toucouleur”, Espace Landowski, Boulogne Billancourt, France

2007

  • Institut des Etudes d’Afrique – Leiden – Pays Bas
  • Afriques, Espaces Humanités – Paris – France

2005

Den Haag, Galerie Chiefs and Spirits – La Haye – Pays Bas

2004

  • FIAD, Les Afriques – Musée des Arts Derniers – Paris – France
  • Biennale d’art contemporain – Louvain-la-Neuve – Belgique
  • « Africas », Galerie Raquel Arnaud – Sao Paulo – Brésil

2002

  • Sélection officielle « Dak’art 2002 », Biennale d’art contemporain, Dakar, Senegal
  • Musée d’Art Moderne de l’ULB, Brussels,  Belgium
  • Exposition collective 8 artistes – Pontigny – France

2001

  • « Tchif, Quenum, Zinkpè, 3 jeunes béninois », traveling exposition in Benin, Niger, Burkina, Faso,Mali, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
  • Foire internationale d’Art Plastique, Abidjan,  Ivory Coast

2000

  • « L’harmattan 2000 », 1er salon béninois d’Art Contemporain, Cotonou, Benin

1999

  • Pierre Galerie, Paris, France
  • Exposition Boulev’ard, Cotonou, Benin
  • Alliance Française, Lagos, Nigeria

1997

  • « Comme dirait l’autre », Biennale d’Art contemporain OFF, Lyon, France
  • « Zeitgenossische kunst aus Africa », Frankfurt, Germany
  • « Mémoire d’esclave », Genève, Switzerland

1996

  • « Contre le G7 », Galerie Chomarat, Lyon, France

1995

  • ABC Expo, CCF, Cotonou, Benin


Collections

Tchif’s work is regularly shown in collective exhibitions of Galerie Vallois Paris and is included in various  professional collections, such as: 

  • National Gallery Benin (permanent artist Contemporary Benin)
  • Vallois (France)
  • Leridon (France)
  • Zinsou (Benin)
  • Blachère (France)
  • Smithsonian Museum Washington (US)

 His works have been exhibited in various museums internationally, a.o. at:

  • Fowler museum. Los Angelos, US
  • Museum Afro-Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brasil
  • National museum for African Art Smithsonian in Washington, US
  • Musées des Arts Derniers, Paris, France
  • Musée d’Art Moderne de l’ULB, Brussels, Belgium
Tchif has been auctioned in the past at Drouot, Ferri and Millon & Associes in Paris​


2019

  • AFRICA through ART INITIATIVE, Edge of Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
  • AFRICA through ART INITIATIVE, Zou no Hana terrace, Yokohama, Japan

2017

  • Collection “Africa my name’s Job”, Cotonou, Benin

2015

  • Pointe à pitre, Guadeloupe
  • Galerie Fremeaux, Vincennes, France
  • Galerie Vallois, Paris

2014

  • “Eau, Feu et Terre”, Barcelona, Spain

2013

  • Exposition Zik Zac Festival, Aix en Provence, France
  • Inauguration Galerie Tempo, Marseille, France
  • Galerie Omenka, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Mode is ART, Cotonou, Benin

2012

  • Expositie Résidence d’artiste, Kourou, Guyane

2010

  • Foot Culture – Installations photos, Espace Tchif,  Cotonou, Benin

2008

  • Galerie Cardinal, Ajaccio, Corsica

2007

  • Exposition « Musée des Arts Derniers », Paris, France

2004

  • Galerie Alizé, Brussels, Belgium
  • Galerie Huijs Basten, Asbeck-Groenlo, Nederland

2003

  • IESA, Paris, France

2002

  • Galerie Regards, Croisés, Paris, France
  • Galerie d’art contemporain, Isle-sur-Sorgue, France

2001

  • Elf Village, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

1999

  • « Visages d’Afrique », Galerie ABC, Dijon, France
  • « Autocritique », Centre Culturel Français, Cotonou, Benin

1998

  • Galerie Espace Rivage, Paris, France
  • « Rêve d’un marabout », Ambassade de France, Cotonou, Benin

1997

  • MJC, Vieux Lyon, France

1996

  • GTZ, Cotonou, Benin

1995

  • « Zemidjans », Galerie l’Atelier, Cotonou, Benin

2023

  • Révélation ! Art Contemporain du Bénin, Martinique 
  • Art du Bénin, D’hier et d’Aujourd’hui : De La Restitution à la Révélation,Musée Mohammed VI, Rabat, Maroc
2022
  • DAF Frankfurt via OpenArtExchange, Frankfurt, Germany 
  • Art The Hague via OpenArtExchange, The Hague, Netherlands 
  • Africa Now II, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam (Rotterdam) – The Netherlands 
  • Essence et résilience, Dak’Art biennale OFF, Dakar, Senegal Dyptique, Le Présidence du Benin, Cotonou, Benin Regards D’afrique, Conakry, Guinée
  • Art du Bénin, D’hier et d’Aujourd’hui : De La Restitution à la Révélation, Présidence de la République, Cotonou, Bénin

 2021 

  • « Contemporary Bénin», Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  • Expo Sobebra for 60 years independence of Benin

2018

  • ART PARIS 2018, Paris, France
  • 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Marrakech 2018, Morocco
  • ViewPoints on Africa’s Arts Washington. Washington DC, USA

2017

  • AKAA Paris 2017, Paris, France

2016

  • Art fair PARIS, Paris, France
  • Centre d’art contemporain de Tanlay, France
  • So art et design, Megève, France
  • Carte et identité cloitre des billettes, Paris, France

2015

  • Art St Germain des Près, galerie Vallois, Paris, France

2014

  • Art fair DUBAI 2014, Dubai, UAE
  • Monumental Africa-Maestri d’Africa in terra d’Umbria_Centro Espositivo Rocca Paolina Perugia, Italy
  • Earth day Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, USA
  • Koton’oo Dak’ART OFF, Galerie Arte, Dakar, Senegal 
  • Fleuve en couleurs, Saint-louis, Senegal
  • Vivres Domaine de chamarande, Essonne, France
  • Africa-Africans, Museum Afro-Brasil, Sao Paolo, Brasil

2013-2014

  • Blank Canvas, Art Twenty One, Lagos, Nigeria

2013

  • Earth Matters, National Museum of African Art / Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA

2012 & 2010

  • Biennale Bénin, Cotonou, Bénin

2009

  • Africa ancestral e contemporanea, Centro municipal de Arte Helio Citica, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

2008

  • « O Benin está ainda là », Museum Afro-Brasil, São Paulo, Brasil
  • Créafrique 3 Méjannes, Le Clap, France
  • Expresiones Africanas “Fondation Daniel Suarez”, Caracas, Vénézuéla
  • Espace d’art, Centre culturel Jacques Brel, Thionville, France
  • 2ème Salon d’Art Contemporain, Brussels,  Belgium
  • Bénin Corps et Ame, Multimedia library, Melun, France
  • Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Bénin
  • Un monde “Toucouleur”, Espace Landowski, Boulogne Billancourt, France

2007

  • Institut des Etudes d’Afrique – Leiden – Pays Bas
  • Afriques, Espaces Humanités – Paris – France

2005

Den Haag, Galerie Chiefs and Spirits – La Haye – Pays Bas

2004

  • FIAD, Les Afriques – Musée des Arts Derniers – Paris – France
  • Biennale d’art contemporain – Louvain-la-Neuve – Belgique
  • « Africas », Galerie Raquel Arnaud – Sao Paulo – Brésil

2002

  • Sélection officielle « Dak’art 2002 », Biennale d’art contemporain, Dakar, Senegal
  • Musée d’Art Moderne de l’ULB, Brussels,  Belgium
  • Exposition collective 8 artistes – Pontigny – France

2001

  • « Tchif, Quenum, Zinkpè, 3 jeunes béninois », traveling exposition in Benin, Niger, Burkina, Faso,Mali, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
  • Foire internationale d’Art Plastique, Abidjan,  Ivory Coast

2000

  • « L’harmattan 2000 », 1er salon béninois d’Art Contemporain, Cotonou, Benin

1999

  • Pierre Galerie, Paris, France
  • Exposition Boulev’ard, Cotonou, Benin
  • Alliance Française, Lagos, Nigeria

1997

  • « Comme dirait l’autre », Biennale d’Art contemporain OFF, Lyon, France
  • « Zeitgenossische kunst aus Africa », Frankfurt, Germany
  • « Mémoire d’esclave », Genève, Switzerland

1996

  • « Contre le G7 », Galerie Chomarat, Lyon, France

1995

  • ABC Expo, CCF, Cotonou, Benin


Tchif’s work is regularly shown in collective exhibitions of Galerie Vallois Paris and is included in various  professional collections, such as: 

  • National Gallery Benin (permanent artist Contemporary Benin)
  • Vallois (France)
  • Leridon (France)
  • Zinsou (Benin)
  • Blachère (France)
  • Smithsonian Museum Washington (US)

 His works have been exhibited in various museums internationally, a.o. at:

  • Fowler museum. Los Angelos, US
  • Museum Afro-Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brasil
  • National museum for African Art Smithsonian in Washington, US
  • Musées des Arts Derniers, Paris, France
  • Musée d’Art Moderne de l’ULB, Brussels, Belgium

Tchif has been auctioned in the past at Drouot, Ferri and Millon & Associes in Paris​