Only Time Will Tell

© Courtesy of Ryan Cosbert, Emmanuel Massillon and cadet capela
© Credits photo: Thomas Marroni

Ryan Cosbert, Emmanuel Massillon

May 13 — June 3, 2023

13 rue Béranger, 75003 Paris

cadet capela is pleased to present the exhibition Only Time Will Tell featuring the work of two conceptual artists Emmanuel Massillon and Ryan Cosbert. They are linked by a common source of inspiration: the history and culture of African Americans and the African diaspora in general. The artists are not interested in a romanticized interpretation of these stories, but rather in the real events that occurred and real people who took part. The first African American man to go to space, the story of Haitian soldier Victoria Montou’s fight for independence, the destruction of Seneca Village are just a few of the stories embodied in the works in this exhibition.
Ryan Cosbert’s abstract paintings give an image and a voice to those who stayed unknown and forgotten during the time of colonization and slavery. The artist, whose ancestors are from Haiti and Guyana, finds great strength and inspiration in her roots. She is particularly interested in the consequences of oppression that is carried down through generations. Cosbert was largely influenced by the works of abstract artists such as Sam Gilliam, Jack Whitten and Alma Thomas, the references to which she blends her childhood memories. The depth of her paintings, due to the application of numerous layers of paint, complements the geometric balance of the compositions. This combination, reinforced by the presence of grids, gives Cosbert’s paintings an almost sculptural dimension. The deliberate abstraction of her work encourages viewers to search for the meaning of the works, guided by their titles.
Refusing to limit himself to a single technique, Emmanuel Massillon combines sculpture, painting and photography in his practice. All his works have a story to tell: they are the result of a mixture of the artist’s personal experiences and his historical references. Largely inspired by rap music, especially the sampling technique, Massillon combines not only his different references and memories but also the mediums to get his messages across. Having learned woodworking from his grandfather, Massillon’s works often incorporate elements made of wood. He also does not hesitate to use unconventional materials such as dog food or communion bread to support his subject. Named Emmanuel after his Haitian ancestors, who rebelled in the first slave colony to gain independence, he reflects that strength in his artwork.
The work of Emmanuel Massillon and Ryan Cosbert hopes to provoke and foster a multi-disciplinary dialogue. As the title of the exhibition suggests, only time can reveal the truth. Thus, the two artists act as spokespersons for those who have not been able to express themselves and shed light on the great moments of history.