Patrick Willocq is a photographer and director in permanent creation of an African theater as close as possible to humanity, which he has allowed to be recognized throughout the world in all its singular beauty.
Since 2009, he has devoted himself entirely to the cause of the Walé women, and to the rites of this true Congo, natural trestles of all his photographic creation.
There is something about him of a Gauguin of the image who “wanted to flee to reach art,” by rediscovering the Congo of his youth.
On the road, in fact, from Bikoro to Bokonda, Patrick is, like Gauguin in front of his famous Vahines, “struck by the beauty, the simplicity and the dignity of everyday life”, he says, despite a turbulent history and all the difficulties of their daily life faced by the Congolese. ”
We could say that Patrick Willocq, as if he did not know it of his own free will, is also the spiritual son of Claude Levi-Strauss, of Jean Rouch, crossbred with Robert Jaulin, who could have been his masters to help him better see and make us perceive this authentic Africa in all its sincere majesty
Each image bears witness to this. Patrick Willocq shed his Western culture to respect African values, far from any devastating exoticism –
Because of the form, no photograph of Patrick Willocq comes from caricature. On the contrary, the portraits, among many others, of Ikita the decision maker, of Bongei the brilliant, of Ipusa the anti-seducer force, of Ilako the counselor, of Tohazie, the grandfather of the Dagbon kingdom, of Abu Kiasila holding his daughter Rasheeda in his arms, go through the time of ancestral rites to project us with inevitable delight into the living iconography of an Ekonda culture between past and future.
Patrick’s conceptualized images are in our eyes a double present: that of a “colorful, joyful Africa” that he adores and the discovery of a new photographic writing in full bloom.
This approach shows exceptional vitality, without resorting to the slightest ease of Photoshop, to better magnify reality. Everything is concrete, to the point of total “respect” for the villagers who are accomplices and extras of a traveling staging in the villages he crossed.
Patrick Willocq gives us back in each of his now iconic images the love he has, and which transports us with aesthetic emotion to these women, these men, more African than ever in the natural “participatory” theater of his vision of the world.
“I have a very personal vision,” he emphasizes, of human relations and the place of women and men in these villages, of the role of the forest, a true nourishing heart but which is subject to daily pressure from the villagers; and customs that are still well established but which sometimes disappear in favor of more Westernized tools and behaviors “.
“A single finger cannot lift a stone” says a proverb from Ghana.
A single photo cannot summarize the talent of Patrick Willocq.
We are honored to join forces with Exhibition Curator Alain Mingam to welcome within the firm the works of a photographer as talented as Patrick Willocq. This offers us an unusual artistic journey, as we celebrate the Year of Africa in France. During this uncertain period that we are going through, the photos of Patrick Willocq bring us a festival of colors and torrents of poetry and a dreamlike vision that transport us to a theatrical universe full of humanity. This new exhibition “At the heart of Africa, Another look” reflects Baker McKenzie’s openness to the world and its constantly renewed commitment to contemporary artistic creation.
Eric Lasry, Managing Partner
Patrick Willocq : Au cœur de l’Afrique, un autre regard
Baker & Mc Kenzie
1 rue Paul Baudry
until December 18
by invitation only in compliance with barrier measures
and send mail to Adelaide.LeMasson@bakermckenzie.com
Extension until January 18, 2021