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.

Morphosis exhibition_ph.Federico_Florian

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.

Be part of our


Explore art, photography and design that inspires you. Discover new artists,
follow your favorites and connect with the creative community.

Huma Bhabha: Ambiguous Otherness

Huma Bhabha: Ambiguous Otherness

With her first monographic exhibition in a French institution, Huma Bhabha seamlessly weaves together diverse eras, materials, and iconic forms to create thought-provoking works that explore anthropomorphic and hybrid presences.

Small Amnesias – Kunsthalle Neuwerk

Small Amnesias – Kunsthalle Neuwerk

Explore ‘Small Amnesias’ at Kunsthalle Neuwerk, an evocative exhibition by Maltese artist Vince Briffa. Immerse in a unique blend of video art and soundscapes that echo Malta’s rich heritage, expertly curated by Nina Maier. A sensory journey of memory, identity, and place

Reevaluating Western Perspectivism

Reevaluating Western Perspectivism

Dev Dhunsi, a Norwegian-Indian multidisciplinary artist and photographer based in Stockholm is currently presenting his inaugural solo exhibition at MELK, Oslo. “Encircling Stories” features images captured during Dhunsi’s seven-year exploration, spanning from Punjab to Goa, traversing diverse regions of India by train. The exhibition reveals evolving relationships with land, highlighting the complexities of a region undergoing agricultural challenges, monoculture threats, and dispossession.