Visual-Linguistic By Pascale Marthine Tayou

Contemporary Art, Interviews & Portraits

This week The Soul Édition wants to introduce prominent contemporary artist, Pascale Marthine Tayou. We love his work. He is a true visual linguist in a world where communication can be complicated sometimes.

Pascale Marthine Tayou / Serpentine
Pascale Marthine Tayou by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images The Serpentine Gallery

Cameroon-born, Belgium-based artist Tayou is renowned for combining found and discarded objects and materials–often sourced locally–with a skilled and playful sense of craftsmanship. Tayou is difficult to categorize. He gave himself two first names Pascale and Marthine that he feminized. He studied law, hoping it would lead to a kind of purity, but fled the profession when he realized that the system was corrupt.

Tayou began exhibiting in the early 1990s–a time of political and social upheaval across West Africa. Often produced in situ, his works address issues of individual and national identity and global consumption.

Pascale Marthine Tayou
Pascale Marthine Tayou au Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles


A diverse mix of sculptural forms demonstrate Tayou’s unique visual language based on archetypes, made and found objects, and traditional craft. Mysterious human forms and fantastical beasts–such as the 100 metre snake of Africonda (2014)–incorporate materials such as cloth, wood, plastic, glass, organic matter, and consumer waste intertwined with an artisanal skill. Coton Tige (2015), a cotton cloud pierced with wooden stakes, was made in response to the site and in particular to the history of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London, which was built in 1805, and was originally designed as a munitions store for the safe-keeping of gunpowder during the Napoleonic wars.

Pascale Marthine Tayou / Jungle Fever
Jungle Fever C, 2011© / Tayou

Tayou said that, “Coton Tige has to do with the cotton fields, that is, with slavery and its effects on human relationships.” In the words of Julia Peyton–Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Directors of the Serpentine Galleries in London, “Straddling the radically different worlds of both Cameroon and Belgium, Tayou has spent his career examining ideas of identity–whether national, geographical, financial, or emotional–in an attempt to find the common ground between us all.”

Pascale Marthine Tayou: Boomerang. Installation View, Serpentine Sackler Gallery in 2015
Pascale Marthine Tayou, Coton Tige, 2015

Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Fowler Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury in Abidjan, MACRO in Rome, Le Chemin Lumineux in Lille, Gare Saint Lazare in Paris, Castello di Ama, MUDAM LUXEMBOURG, MAC Lyon, Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, lille3000, and Malmö Konsthall, among other institutions.


Courtesy of Serpentine Galleries,  Galleria Continua, San Gimignano /Beijing / Les Moulins
Pictures by Andrea Rossetti 

More information : Pascale Marthine Tayou




Cet article est disponible en: Français

Jan. 12, 2016

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