Bili Bidjocka, born in Douala, Cameroon, works in Paris, Brussels and New York. In New York he presented the installation midi-minuit-midi (1998) in the New Museum. Religious practice and rites from his place of birth still inform much of his work. They are reminders of the silence, the only left-over after the aggressive cleansing of the memories of migrants according to Okwui Enwezor, the Nigerian New Yorker who selected Bidjocka for the exhibition Alternating Currents for the Biennale of Johannesburg. Bidjocka presented the work South African Garden.
On one side there are metaphors of loss and absence, filled with emptiness. On the other side are traces of ecstasy en longing. The installation presented in Looking Glass is a variation on his Untitled (Witches Ball) 1994 and many other works he created with sleeveless, empty tunics from camouflage material or bananas that ripened from green to yellow to black (Le principe et la faim 1,2,3 1996) or on a waltz or equally melancholic tango, floating around a golden egg.
Sign of hope, sign of life. The oversized dresses hung in the half dark space in the Brussels show window are of transparent tissue. They glow. They are dressed with an aura.
Each of them is lighted from within by a small naked light bulb. As if the bodies were transformed into mere light. Not accidentally the bulbs are hung on pelvis height. Everything has its own place for Bidjocka, as if it were an old rite.
In Brussels the dresses are accompanied by a coffin,
the deck of which had an opening shaped like the dresses. As if the dead
had aggressively sought its way out. The world, according to Bidjocka
is one that smells of ghosts. The famous cry from Joseph Conrads
Africa novel Heart of Darkness: The horror, the horror, is never far away.