Why is public nudity immoral

Who are these two naked men and the naked woman?

A comment from Saïdou Alcény BARRY on the exhibition SIT-IN by Koffi Mens.

Three tall, naked blacks, sitting on different objects, mute as if enveloped in silence. It's a sit-in, a peaceful demo. No signs held up. No call comes from these plump lips, these faces locked in a mysterious smile. Three of you are not a crowd yet, but it is obvious that minorities have never made up a crowd. Usually, minorities and diverse individuals suffer from the anger of the masses. And sometimes minorities also develop a special talent. That of making yourself invisible and living far away from the crowd. But those three there want to be seen. There is nothing like the nudity to turn heads. They have priapic genitals, stiff as standards. Or open labia like the beginning of the world.

The sculptures are naked, but this nudity is neither immoral nor shocking. It cannot shock at all, because it is not the intention of Koffi Mens to shock, but rather to present their demands with adequate means. What could be more expressive to represent sexuality than a stiff limb, as well as a raised arm as a sign of victory?

Because it materializes the body, gives it a tangible consistency and a presence in the world, the sculpture is essentially the place of nudity. The Colossus of Rhodes is naked, Kouros is naked. Ousmane Sow's nouba are naked. Legba, the patron god in voodoo is priapic. The Dogon puppet has a limb like a drawbridge. And the initiate enters the fetish hut naked.

Koffi Mens became known for his portraits of optical illusion, and now he is being discovered again as a sculptor with SIT-IN. Koffi Mens sculpture draws on all sources, African sculpture and Western sculpture, to tailor his figures such as the plastinates by Gunther Von Hagens, the finesse of the works of Ndary Lo and the grotesque and tormented aspects of the figures by Soly Cissé and have zincpè. That's why something fragile, delicate, and inoffensive emanates from these giants. And isn't the SIT-IN also the way of demonstrating the representatives of nonviolence? From Luther King and Gandhi. Peace and love.

SIT-IN is a manifesto for more freedom. The freedom to live one's differences. With this installation, Koffi Mens brings a topic to the agenda that has so far been missing from the public debate in Burkina Faso. Isn't it there because there are other, more pressing and worrying issues? Or because you don't let it exist by not mentioning it? Koffi Mens recognizes the urgency to speak of it. You should listen to the artists, because they have the third eye like the giant who sits at SIT-IN. Is Koffi Sighted? Sighted people sometimes put on the mask of the voyeurs ...

Copyright: Goethe-Institut / Ouagadougou Liaison Office
October 2017