Guadeloupe France Alet’s work has traces of identity, but rather than identity relative to skin color, his work draws from the contexts of European art history, global literature, and memory.
Born on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Thierry Alet received his graduate training at Martinique’s Institut régional d’art visuel. Having acquired a considerable reputation both in France and in the Caribbean, he established a studio in New York during the mid-1990s and his work has since been commissioned and exhibited throughout the world. Starting with a pivotal speech from Steven Spielberg’s 1997 slavery drama Amistad, Alet’s current installation employs painted canvases, mural, video and mixed media to provoke reflection on America’s transformation from a slave-holding society to a society presided over by a president of mixed-race. His boldly characteristic work, typified by tightly ranged rows of handwritten text, highlights issues of socio-cultural import while at the same time re-inscribing the embodied nature of textual communication.
Thierry Alet-Has been on the global art scene for over fifteen years. He occupies a space reserved for few, as both artist and creative producer. As a proverbial son of the Caribbean, he stands on the shoulders of many intellectual heavies in this region, who have explored the notion of cultural identity in their literary works; many finding identity more in flux than fixed. During my interview with Alet he inquired, “Have you read Frantz Fanon?” and continued, “I’m reading this book by Maryse Condé and she’s discussing a quote by Frantz Fanon. He [Frantz Fanon] doesn’t say this explicitly but what is implied is that people tend to confuse culture and custom; custom is straightforward and culture is always moving.”
In the latter half of 2012 Alet was simultaneously making art and organizing exhibitions. In September, he produced the Sketchbook Show at Galerie Protégé in New York, where he also exhibited work, and participated as an artist in the FNB Joburg Art Fair. He received the prestigious Andy Warhol Foundation Grant and received the high honor of becoming a Chevalier of the Order of Arts & Lettres of the French Republic. In addition, he produced several exhibitions out of his gallery T & T Jarry in Guadeloupe, and concluded the year with PooL Martinique in November and PooL Miami in December at Art Basel, Miami.
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