A review of the work of the artist EL Loko, born in the small village of Pèdakondji in Togo, West Africa in 1950, unquestionably places his paintings and sculptures to the fore. Hitherto less well-known have been his many graphic creations.
ARTCO will show early wood cuts.
In 1969, as a young textile designer working in Accra in neighbouring Ghana, EL Loko came across an exhibition of wood prints by Nigerian artists and was spontaneously fascinated by this technique, previously unfamiliar to him. In his personal artistic response to what he was seeing, EL Loko first created black and white drawings in a similar style. Relocating to Germany in 1971 and accepted to the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, he presented these drawings to Joseph Beuys, his teacher and patron. Expressly encouraged by Beuys, EL Loko began to produce wood prints on the printing press at the academy. This was the year after the appearance (after some initially failed attempts) of his first work, entitled "Le Festival" (HS 001) in an edition of 50 copies, which, with few exceptions, is currently out of print. In this woodcut, myths, ciphers and symbols, and above all the aesthetic forms of his cultural homeland, his African roots, become remarkably alive. In the following years, European influences are increasingly recognizable in his work. Influenced by his profound contact with these diverse cultures in these early woodcuts, and later in his paintings and sculptures, EL Loko has developed a personal, unifying artistic voice. Here begins the long quest for signs (subsequent work title) of this German-Togolese artist. Which is why these graphics can rightly claim our undivided attention.