Pascale Marthine Tayou creates works that are about travelling and how various cultures meet and merge. He is nomadic both in his own mode of life and in his artistic activity.
DescriptionIn the colourful, humanoid sculpture Fashion Street (2010), Tayou combines glass, foam-rubber sponges, pick-up sticks, knitted wool, leather, horsehair, beads, and sea shells.
About the workThe work is overwhelmingly sensual and has both a humorous and a mystical quality. The sculpture is strongly related to Tayou’s own life and cultural background. The clothing of the glass sculpture were inspired by down-to-earth African elements from Tayou’s childhood combined with familiar things from the consumer society of the western world. The figure itself is made of glass and was produced south of Florence.
The work is a tribute to street vendors all over the world and, in a way, also a self-portrait. Tayou himself worked as a street vendor during his student years to earn extra money. In Fashion Street, Tayou shows us the beauty of this occupation which, despite its low status in society, beautifies the street scene with the vendor’s colourful wares: headscarves, chewing gum, candy bags, and toys. He, thus, creates a humorous, composite portrait of a present-day citizen of the world.
About Pascale Marthine Tayou’s art in generalPascale Marthine Tayou was originally called Jean Apollinaire Tayou, but changed his name in the mid-nineties to his present more feminine-sounding name. This gesture marked the beginning of an unceasing artistically, geographically, and culturally nomadic existence that has carried Tayou forward to the international art scene.
Tayou’s artistic work, like his name, is deliberately fluid and renounces any predetermined structures. His works are ambivalent, unruly, moving, unexpected, and varied, and they are always connected with the idea of travelling and the encounter with people and things that are alien to oneself. Tayou sees being a traveller not only as a condition of life but also as a psychological state that can change the social relations and the political, economic, and symbolic structures that govern our lives.
BiographyPascale Marthine Tayou trained as a lawyer but abandoned his studies in the middle of the 1990s for art...