Pascale Marthine Tayou

14 Apr - 05 Aug 2007

"Zigzag Zipzak!"

Pascale Marthine Tayou’s first solo exhibition in China
April 14th– August 5st, 2007

Galleria Continua Beijing is delighted to present Zigzag Zipzak! Pascale Marthine Tayou’s first solo exhibition in China.
After presenting his work to the public on the occasion of the two group shows at the Beijing Galleria Continua: Manmano and One Colour, the Cameroonian artist is exhibiting a considerable number of new works purposely created for the gallery space in close relationship with the Chinese cultural and traditional context.
Born in Cameroon in 1967, after interrupting his law studies at the University of Yaoundé during the 90s, he took his first steps as an artist in his native country first, followed by Germany and Belgium where he now lives. The transition from Africa to Europe has marked a turning point in Pascale Marthine Tayou’s artistic growth, as it led him towards what can became his main feature: the pleasure culture mingling, thus acting on a broader scale than that dictated by borders in countries and continents, establishing a global philosophy free from geographical frontiers. Pascale Marthine Tayou realizes, and makes people recognize, what is closer to his origins and what remains far. Yet, he never refuses the unfamiliar, even when it becomes almost incomprehensible, on the contrary, he absorbs differences creating new meanings.
The China experience has surely been instrumental for the introduction of the new works exhibited in Beijing at Galleria Continua. Walking through the show the viewer’s perception is immediately hit by what the Italian art critic Massimiliano Gioni, presenting Pascale Marthine Tayou’s work at the 51st Venice Biennial, has described as a “joyous mass of colours, objects, shapes and scribbles”.
Beyond the appealing surface of the eclectic artist’s multi coloured installations, sculptures, videos, drawings, deeper issues arise. Thus, the work called Tayouken Piss made out of wax in four different colours (green, yellow, red and dark brown) is extremely attractive for the viewer’s eye. Nonetheless, it calls to attention the identity issue: it is a Belgium icon (the Manneken Piss is Brussels most popular symbol), with the three colours of the Cameroonian flag and a fourth one with a brown-chocolate skin, produced by Chinese artisans. Moreover, the fact that these real-sized candles-sculptures have been reproduced with the artist’s features in a vanishing material such as wax, leads to questions about the role of an artist within the art world, and in a broader sense about the condition of being a mortal human, after all.
The Cameroonian colours emerge as a leitmotif in the neon light work made up by overlapping the three most debated religious symbols: the David star, the Islamic moon and the Christian cross.
The huge egg standing with its massive dimensions in the main space, is a sort of proliferous organic mother giving birth to thousands of little eggs lying around in their seductive warm colours as a pervading fire.
More ironical and playful, the installation Tug of War represents two terracotta sculptures playing together subverting what logic would suggest: a sensual, alluring Oriental woman and a dogged muscular African man are both holding a thread. But while the man pulls with strength in order to win and conquer the woman, the lady plays with him using her sensuality and beauty. The emerging reality showing how the concepts of weakness and strength are relative rather than absolute.
Sensuality is also the main theme of the two works named Nails, composed by a set of five magnified shining red female nails, and Fornica, made of a series of colourful lambda prints on formica with strong references to erotic images. In both works Pascale Marthine Tayou plays again, in a very delicate and playful way, with symbols and images that are deeply stereotyped decontextualizing each subject to offer new approaches for the public.

Pascale Marthine Tayou largely exhibits worldwide.
He has taken part to remarkable international shows such as Documenta 11 (2002) and several biennials such as Istanbul (2003), Lyon (2005), Venice (2005) and Havana (2006).
His works have been shown in different solo exhibitions in important international museums amongst which the MACRO in Rome, Italy (2004), the S.M.A.K. in Gent, Belgium (2004) and the MARTa Herford, Germany (2005).

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