Issa Samb. Photograph: Christa Holka
Issa Samb. Photograph: Christa Holka

Issa Samb was born 1945 in Dakar (Senegal), and lives and works in Dakar.

“Samb is considered a total artist. His practice ranges from acting – for both theatre and cinema – writing (poetry, essays, novels), installing, performing, painting and sculpting.

The only media that he has not explored so far is photography, maybe because of his persistent aversion to technology. Except for the radio, Samb does not use what he calls modern technological devices that according to him kill the magic of human interaction. So when you want to talk to him, you go to see him. When you want him to read a paper, you print it and bring it to him; or even preferable, you write to him by hand.”

The Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva) is currently presenting the first solo exhibition of Samb’s work in the UK. Issa Samb: From the Ethics of Acting to the Empire Without Signs is curated by Koyo Kouoh of Raw Material Company. Kouoh, quoted here, has worked closely with the artist on several projects and curates this exhibition of Samb’s work which provides a unique opportunity to experience his sculptural and graphic works and consider these in relation to his live actions with which they are intimately linked.

The exhibition also focuses on Samb’s collaboration with French artist Jean Michel Bruyère which extends from their friendship that has continued over several years both in Europe and in Africa.

This exhibition follows a research trip to Samb’s atelier in Dakar in September 2013, and builds on the conversations that took place with the artist and the curator at that time.

The project forms part of Practice International, an EU-supported project that explores the term ‘international’ through the work of contemporary artists and in relation to the politics of globalisation.

Issa Samb: From the Ethics of Acting to the Empire Without Signs is at Iniva, Rivington Place EC2A 3BA until 26 July.