Pascale Marthine Tayou, Chalk Fresco, 2015
Pascale Marthine Tayou (b. 1966, Nkongsamba) is an internationally renowned artist whose work is characterized by its variability, since he confines himself in his artistic work neither to one medium nor to a particular set of issues. While his themes may be various, they all use the artist himself as a person as their point of departure. Already at the very outset of his career, Pascale Marthine Tayou added an “e” to his first and middle name to give them a feminine ending, thus distancing himself ironically from the importance of artistic authorship and male/female ascriptions. This holds for any reduction to a specific geographical or cultural origin as well. His works not only mediate in this sense between cultures, or set man and nature in ambivalent relations to each other, but are produced in the knowledge that they are social, cultural, or political constructions. His work is deliberately mobile, elusive of pre-established schema, heterogeneous. It is always closely linked to the idea of travel and of coming into contact with what is other to self, and is so spontaneous that it almost seems casual. The objects, sculptures, installations, drawings and videos produced by Tayou have a recurrent feature in common: they dwell upon an individual moving through the world and exploring the issue of the global village. And it is in this context that Tayou negotiates his African origins and related expectations.