In Conversation With Cenotaph & Mixed Media Artist, Aàdesokan

Aàdesokan (b. 1994, Lagos) creates for revelation, to incite change, any form of it on a supraliminal level.  He interrogates the mind; his own mind, and its endless perceptions, having been exposed to various psychoanalytic methodologies by his psychologist father at an early age. 

Aàdesokan is currently undergoing a research residency at Jan Van Eyck Académie to develop the concept of Waste Identity as an imaginary theorization fixated on the relationship between waste and identity, testing the feasibility of negotiating the use of the identity of waste as a metaphor for displacement and human migration. 

What does it mean to be a personification of a cenotaph? 

It simply means to be a husk, to constantly empty out your own presence even if  you are always very much there, being nobody to become everything and anything. 

From my point of view, your art embodies a fragmentation that has been embraced as a comforting whole. How true or false is this perception? 

It is interesting that you have rightly discerned this. With my work I have always shared a fragment of a fragment within a broken piece. With every day that unravels, I look towards my life, the time and space shared, all of it as a comforting whole. 

Does your art imitate your life in any way? Or vice versa? 

Yes, it does, my art is an intimate expression of the self that I embody. My early works were made as therapy but these days most of my creative expressions have been on subject matters majorly outside of self.  

There’s a recurrence of flowers in some of your work, what significance do floral elements hold to you and what does their appearance add or subtract from your paintings? 

Flowers have always been with me from the inception of my creative practice. They are in some way a symbolic offering to the work that I allow myself to create and share. These floral elements play an essential role in opening up each work for the viewer to engage in dialogue. In life and death, flowers embody so beautifully the human essence.

Ranging from ink on paper to acrylic on metal, your versatility with styles is evident, how did you get to this point? 

Well, I would say mostly through experimenting. I did a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and the discipline definitely helps me structure my curiosity as I experiment.  

At what age did you begin painting & what was the driving force? 

I have always made paintings for as long as I have been aware of my cognitive processes but it was not until my second undergraduate year that I made extra efforts towards painting. This was mostly due to the burnout from studying engineering. Painting was a way to recharge. Nowadays, I see myself more as an image-maker. Initially, I always expressed myself through painting but now my work is no longer restricted to that medium. 

If there was one dead artist you could bring back to life just to have a conversation with, who would it be? 

Most definitely Jean-Michel Basquiat. Although, I already have dialogues in some way with a few of them. I remember I used to share captions of texts written in response to their works. My favourite person to dialogue with was Susan Sontag but that’s all archived now. I think it was a bit too much. Haha. 

You dabble in literary arts as well, does this play a part in providing contextual depth to your work, or do you keep these two forms apart? 

Very well-placed follow-up question. Yes, I do but not exactly dabble, the literary arts are core to my practice. Creative writing and poetry are the depths from which most of my visual works emerge. They are very much intertwined but I hardly share works within a literary context except the project statements I write for my visual works and my Twitter feed. All that would soon change though, I am  rounding up a research residency and there is much clarity on a new direction for me as an Artist.

Find Aàdesokan @ManQBT on Instagram & Twitter

Nasir Ahmed Achile

Philosophy nut. I recommend Albert Camus and Eckhart Tolle to everyone I know.

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