Pascal Marthine Tayou - Biography

* 1967 Yaoundé, Cameroon. Lives in Brussels, Belgium, and in Douala, Cameroon.

Pascale Marthine Tayou took a law degree in Douala in the early 1990s but soon began practicing as an autodidactic artist. A socially conscious visual activist, Tayou emerged on the national and international scene with drawings, sculptures and installations that focused attention on the AIDS crisis in collaboration with the Douala-based Doual'art Association.

His work mines popular visual culture and social practices, using improvisational methods to construct installations relentlessly focused on the political and social conditions of postcolonial Africa. From his early sculptures, constructed from an assorted range of found objects—condoms, discarded plastic dolls, plant materials, planks, detritus, graffiti, etc—to the more recent sprawling installations (Colorful Maze, 1997, Crazy Nomad, 1999, Game Station, 2002) made of plastic bags, flags, houses, electronic gadgets, cars, and such, Tayou broaches issues that deal as much with nationalism, exile, migration and global power relations, as with the ways in which localized human populations imagine their worlds in terms of, but also in spite of, their material circumstances.

For Who Knows Tomorrow, Tayou presents a new iteration of his Afrodiziak…Aphrozidiaque…Afrosisiaque (2001/2003)—an installation of flags of the 54 African nations—at the Neue Nationagalerie building. This work, originally created in response to the formation of the African Union, is a critical commentary on the historical, cultural and political imperatives that result in the creation of supra-national states in the wake of the establishment of the European Union and the ensuing debate about European identity and citizenship. A crucial part of this installation is made up of several life-size, polychrome sculptures inspired by African "colon” sculptures—figural portraits made by African artists representing Europeans during the colonial period. Tayou thus meditates on the complex ways Europeans figured, often as the inscrutable other, in the African ritual, visual and social imaginary.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

Pascale Marthine Tayou, Malmö Konsthall (2010); Matiti Elobi, Château de Blandy les Tours (2008); Jungle Fever, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano (2008); Zigzag Zipzak!, Galleria Continua Beijing (2007); Plastic Bags, Kunsthalle Wien, public space karlsplatz, Vienna (2006); Rendez-vous, S.M.A.K., Ghent (2004); Omnes viae Romam ducunt, MACRO – Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2004); Erection, Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2002); Qui perd gagne, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2002); Somewhere, Galerie der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin (2000); Trafique, S.M.A.K., Ghent (1999); Crazy Nomad, Lombard-Freid Projects, New York (1999); Looobhy, Doual'art, Douala (1997); Le déballage, Goethe-Institut, Yaoundé (1997); La chaise à Doual'art, Centre Culturel Français, Douala (1995); Transgressions, Centre Culturel Français, Yaoundé (1994).

Selected Group Exhibitions:

Where is Africa, Rotterdam International Films Festival (2010); One Shot! Football and Contemporary Art, BPS22, Charleroi (2010); Expo 2010 Shanghai (2010); Always all ways – Omnes viae Malmö Ducunt, Malmö Konsthall (2010); Shaba!, Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg (2010); 4th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial (2009); 53rd Venice Biennial (2009); Un certain état du monde?, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2009); Hypocrisy, Museet for Samtidskunst, Oslo (2009); Altermodern, 4th Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London (2009); 50 Moons of Saturn, Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2008); Prospect.1 New Orleans (2009); A Global Multitude, La Rotonde 1, Luxemburg (2007); World Factory, San Francisco Art Institute (2007); Venice-Istanbul, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (2006); 9th Havana Biennial (2006); La Force de l'Art, Grand Palais, Paris (2006); 6e Rencontres photographiques, Bamako (2005); 8th Biennale de Lyon (2005); 51st Venice Biennial (2005); Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Johannesburg Art Gallery (2004–2007); Le menu familial, Espace Doual'art, Douala; Kunsthalle Bern (2002–2004); Once Upon a Time, MuHKA, Antwerp (2004); Working Ethics – From a Certain Flanders, Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna (2004); Camuflaje, Fundación Celarg, Caracas (2004); Skulptur Biennale Münsterland, Münster (2003); Transferts, Palais de Beaux-Arts, Brussels (2003); Next flag, BPS22, Charleroi (2003); Happiness, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2003); 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); 25th São Paulo Biennial (2002); Arco 2002, Madrid (2002); The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich; Haus der Kulturen der Welt/Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center/MoMA, New York (2001–2002); 2nd Berlin Biennale, Kunst-Werke, Berlin (2001); Ici et maintenant, Tour & Taxis, Brussels (2001); New French Art, Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo (2000); Zeitwenden, MUMOK: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (2000); Taipei Biennial (2000); Biennale de Lyon (2000); Liverpool Biennial (1999); Mirror's Edge, Bildmuseet, Umeå; Vancouver Art Gallery; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Tramway, Glasgow; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (1999–2001); Trafique, S.M.A.K., Ghent (1999); South Meets West, National Museum of Ghana, Accra; Kunsthalle Bern (1999–2000); La ville dans tous ses états, Doual'art, Douala (1998); 11th Biennale of Sydney (1998); Le Déballage, Goethe-Institut, Yaoundé (1997); 6th Havana Biennial (1997); 2nd Santa Fe Biennial (1997); 2nd Gwangju Biennale (1997); 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997); 2nd Dak'Art Biennale of Contemporary African Art, Dakar (1996); Neue Kunst aus Afrika, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (1996); An Inside Story – African Art of our Time, Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo (1995); Transgressions, Centre Culturel Français, Yaoundé (1994).

Major Public Collections:

S.M.A.K., Ghent; MARTa, Herford; Fundación NMAC Montenmedio Arte Contemporáneo, Cádiz.

Selected Bibliography:

Nicolas Bourriaud/Pier Luigi Tazzi, Pascale Marthine Tayou: Le grand sorcier de l'utopie, Pistoia 2009; Pascale Marthine Tayou: Matiti Elobi, San Gimignano 2008; Pascal Marthine Tayou, Milan 2004; Danilo Eccher (ed.), Pascale Marthine Tayou: Maman, l'autre jour j'étais en Italie, Milan 2004; Pascale Marthine Tayou, Ghent 2004; Qui perd gagne: Le menu familial, Bern 2001; Francesco Bonami, "Pascale Marthine Tayou: Polvo Fino", in: Atlantica, 19, 1998, pp.40–43, 141–145.

© Press information of the organizer

Pascal Marthine Tayou
Neue Nationalgalerie
Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin

Who Knows Tomorrow
A project by the National Gallery Berlin
4 June - 26 Sept. 2010

>> Pascal Marthine Tayou
Photos and information in Universes in Universe, incl. Documenta, Venice Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Afrika Remix

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