Pascale Marthine Tayou
Curated by Nicola Trezzi
“I have always been trying to express myself, whether you call it art or not. In that meaning art is for me a way to survive: not only to eat, drink and sleep but to feel good, sharing stories and enjoying people. […] I don’t have a specific plan. I’m following all the energy people are giving to me, so I go when I’m invited to share my experiences. I am a nomad because the others give me this opportunity. Moving through the world is a way of existence for me.” –Pascale Marthine Tayou
The work of Pascale Marthine Tayou is characterized by its variability, since he does not define his practice through a specific medium or a particular set of issues. While his works may lead to a variety of issues, questions and conclusions, they all have the same starting point: the artist. One of the strongest actions in this regard is the fact that from the very beginning of his path as an artist, Pascale Marthine Tayou added an “e” to his first and middle name in order to give them a feminine ending, thus questioning the importance of artistic authorship in relationship to gender, not to mention the desire to escape any reduction to a specific geographical or cultural origin; “Even though my predecessors were living in the bush, through my education and languages I have had the tools to understand the western world. I’m living simultaneously in both worlds; traveling from Africa to Europe is for me like traveling from city to city. My tradition is the human tradition. I was very impressed when I learned for the first time A, B, C, D, but these letters are a universal code. I have never dreamed of leaving my country; it was natural that it happened. Social topics like emigration have therefore no interest to me” says the artist. His works not only stays between different cultures, between mankind and nature, but it also questions, through ambivalence, these very concepts as social, cultural, or political constructions. His work is deliberately mobile, elusive, far from pre-established schema, and heterogeneous. It is always echo ofthe notion of journey and the figure of the nomad although in a spontaneous fashion. His sculptures, installations, drawings and videos seemto have a common aspect: they all relate to the path of an individual who is moving through the world, a world that seemsto be deeply adventurous and genuinely multifaceted.
For the past twenty five years, Pascale Marthine Tayou (Nkongsamba, Cameroon, 1966) has been a leading voice in the field contemporary art.
His work has been the subject of institutional solo exhibitions at the Bass Museum in Miami, CAC in Malaga, Spain, Bozar in Brussels, Kunsthalle in Bregenz, Austria, MACRO in Rome, MUDAM in Luxembourg, MAC in Lyon, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden, Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, Marta Herford, Germany, SMAK in Ghent, Belgium, Portikus in Frankfurt, Germany, Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; he also had several solo exhibitions with Galleria Continua in San Giminiano, Italy, Beijing, and Boissy-le-Châtel, France.
His work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at institutions such as the MAXXI in Rome, Pinchuk Art Center in Kiev, Vuitton Foundation in Paris, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, ZEITH MOOCA in Cape Town, Louisiana Museum of Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, MACBA in Buenos Aires, Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany, Hayward Gallery in London, Musée du Louvre in Paris, The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, HangarBicocca in Milan, Nomas Foundation in Rome, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, Germany, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris, and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin; he participated in the 1997 editions of the Havana, Kwangju and Johannesburg Biennale, the 1998 Sydney Biennale, the 1999 Liverpool Biennale, the 2000 editions of the Lyon and Taipei Biennales, the 2001 Berlin Biennale, 2002 editions of Documenta and Sao Paulo Biennale, the 2003 editions of Sculpture Project, Istanbul Biennale and Tate Triennial, the 2005 and 2009 editions of the Venice Biennale, the 2006 Havana Biennale, the 2008 edition of Prospect in New Orleans and Art Focus in Jerusalem, the 2012 editions of the Shanghai and Marrakech Biennales, the 2013 Sharjah Biennale, the 2018 edition of Dak’art in Darak.
BUILDINGBOX is an independent space within the premises of BUILDING, characterized by its own unique program. The opening project, curated by Nicola Trezzi, opens on the week of Rosh HaShana, which is the beginning of the new year – the year 5779, as the title says – according to the Hebrew calendar.
Following these premises, a window gallery which is visible 24/7, and a calendar which consists of 12 months (Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul, Tishrei, Marcheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar), 5779 is a group exhibition in which several artworks are not present next to each other but rather one after the other. The structure of the calendar – day after day, month after month, year after year – becomes the guideline for the presentation of artworks by several artists; in doing so, this structure transforms the essence behind group exhibitions, from coexistence and juxtaposition to linearity and procession.
Furthermore, this specific format deconstructs the very core of the group exhibition format, which is, by definition, an exhibition in which several artworks, by several artists, are presented next to each other in a confined space and for a specific amount of time. With 5779 the idea of a group exhibition in which works of art by several artists appear, in the same space, one after the other – substituting one another, replacing one another – suggests an inversion in the equation at the base of exhibition making. Rather than rooting exhibition making into space, as it usually happens, this time the exhibition is rooted in time rather than space.