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Jay Ramier Keep the fire burning (gadé difé limé)

For the 10th anniversary of Lasco Project, the Palais de Tokyo invites Jay Ramier, artist considered as one of the pioneers of French hip-hop, a creolised and postcolonial movement.



"Sometimes, I use photos. Sometimes, I pretend to be a DJ when I’m not. Sometimes, I like to breakdance when I don’t know how to. But that’s part of my culture, those are the things I know and that’s part of my personality, my artistic identity, to show these things, to show them out of context." Jay Ramier

Jay Ramier’s generation is that of Kompa, soukouss, Gwo Ka, the moonwalk, the beginnings of hip-hop and graffiti, the apogee of free radios like Radio Nova, the jazz rock nights of the Bataclan and "Chez Roger boite Funk", the jam sessions of Dee Nasty, the Paco Rabanne centre and the scratches of GrandMixer D.ST on the track "Rock It" by jazzman Herbie Hancock. As a DJ sampling sounds to create a new syncopated music to the creolized rhythms of the 1980s, Jay Ramier combines paintings, images, archives and opaque sounds to obtain visual and sound amalgams questioning the collective narratives of the African diaspora with his family narrative.

At the Palais de Tokyo, Jay Ramier observes the intersection of black diasporas through music considered as "a privileged vector in terms of spirituality, but also a social, philosophical and political discourse." With a particular interest in Funk– a sulphurous black American music that emerged in the 1970s against a backdrop of racial tensions– Jay Ramier is interested in the decor (the glitter of the costumes, concert lights, typography of logos) and what it contains (the tragedy and politics that permeate these musicians and the lives of those they represent). A way to return to the origins of hip-hop with which Jay Ramier developed politically and artistically.

Transforming the exhibition space into a concept hall from the 1970s, the walls are dark, at times shimmering, the lights blinding, to transform the works into sparks. The title, Keep the Fire Burning (Gadé Difé Limé) is an homage to James Baldwin and the words of Gwen McCrae. “The flame of love is about to die / We’re gonna fan the fire, come on along.”

Linking Paris, the Bronx and the Caribbean, Jay Ramier puts his work into dialogue with that of Martine Barrat, Hervé Télémaque, Ariles de Tizi, Ydania Li Lopez, Edouard Glissant. The artist also invited Pascale Obolo and the magazine AFRIKADAA to disrupt the exhibition with a performative editorial act on the silent rebellions in the Antilles.


With: Martine Barrat, Edouard Glissant (Institut du tout-monde), Ydania Li Lopez, Pascale Obolo (Afrikadaa), Hervé Télémaque, Ariles de Tizi



Curator : Hugo Vitrani


From 26/11/2021 to 13/03/2022

There's only 162 days left to visit the exhibition

« Sometimes, I use photos, sometimes I just dress up and pretend to be a DJ, even though I’m not a DJ. Sometimes, I like to breakdance even though I don’t know how to breakdance. But it’s part of my culture, they’re the things I know about and it’s part of my personality and also part of me as an artist to show these things, to show them out of context. » Jay Ramier

Jay Ramier

Born in 1967, Guadeloupe, lives and works in Paris.

Jay Ramier explores his Caribbean roots and the representation of the African diaspora.

A few years after his arrival in Paris, Jay Ramier and his collective BadBC inaugurated the wasteland of Stalingrad, an anti-museum known to have been at the heart of the hip-hop boom in Europe in the early 1980s. Jay One was distinguished by his New York style characterised by cryptic, danscing letters, accompanied by B-Boys– angular figures who represented the Zulu drawls of the time– while referring to gestures linked to the history of slavery.

Working both in the public space and the studio– illegally and officially– Jay Ramier has notably exhibited on the palisades of the Louvre, on the Berlin Wall before its fall, at the agnès b galerie du jour (Paris, 1990), at the Musée National des monuments français (Paris, 1991), at Alife (New York, 2001), Kunstraum Kreuzberg (Berlin 2003), (Grand Palais (Paris, 2006, 2009), the “off” programme of the Venice Biennale (2015), and the Philharmonie (La Villette, Paris, 2021).

Author of logos, visuals and music videos for the hip- hop industry, Jay Ramier is the artistic director of the magazine AFRIKADAA. Member of the music group Outlines, and co-author of the book Mouvement - du terrain vague au dancefloor, 1984-89 (published by Le Mot Et le Reste, 2017), Jay Ramier founded BProject, a physical and virtual travelling exhibition space that allows the artist to work collectively and participatively in specific territories and contexts. He is represented by the Rabouan Moussion gallery (Paris).