l’être, l’autre et l’entre
Through her installations that combine textiles and sculpture composed of both industrial and natural materials, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien creates ecosystems where materials interact and cohabitate.
For her project at the Palais de Tokyo, Messouma Manlanbien proposes to set a series of recent and new works against a large theatre curtain that she previously created for the Beffroi de Montrouge. The use of pre-existing pieces is a recurrent practice in her œuvre, where works are regularly bought into new configurations where forms can borrow from and renew one another, multiplying outwards in an infinite exploration.
Messouma Manlanbien’s artistic practice, brings together industrial materials like aluminium, copper, and brass with natural materials such as raffia fibre, rope, tree sap and shells. Through these “encounters” between disparate materials, she creates unique ecosystems in her artworks. The materials not only coexist but also enter into a profound relation with one another, generating a dialogue between their distinct properties and meanings.
Her artistic process involves the construction of landscapes or maps within her installations, which serve as a visual language to communicate her ideas. These landscapes and maps are inspired by the art of mapping and representing geographic spaces. By incorporating cartographic elements into her works, she explores themes of space, territory, and navigation, adding layers of meaning to her artistic expression.
Additionally, Messouma Manlanbien explores the concept of “vêtures” or “vestments”. Such “vêtures” are elements that she creates from the textiles she forms, which she then wears as symbolic garments or costumes during her performances. The “vêtures” become extensions of her artistic expression and serve to embody the characters she portrays, adding a performative dimension to her installations.
In this spirit of reactivation, the immense artefacts conceived for the theatre here serves as a backdrop for a new scene within the architecture of the Palais. Through her performances, which are most often solitary but which at times include others, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien occupies this space through readings of her poetry and through rituals. In these moments of narrative exchange with the public, the textiles that she creates are redeployed in the form of the “vestments” that she wears to embody her characters. The space becomes one of a living narrative, where the artist reads her poems like a storyteller, mobilising her body and her voices.
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien’s installations also incorporate everyday life as she challenges the conventional notions of art and crafts, transforming them into elements of creative expression that carry cultural significance and provoke reflections on the relationships between humans and their environment.
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien’s exhibition L’être, l’autre et l’entre is open at Palais de Tokyo, Paris until the 10th of September 2023.
Images courtesy of the artist and Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan/Dakar/Paris). © Adagp, Paris, 2023
Words by Fabrizio Mifsud Soler.
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