Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien’s work is infused with the various cultures that make up her identity. Of Guadeloupean and Ivorian heritage, she discovered manual craft techniques from a young age alongside her mother and her grand-mother. She grew up in Ivory Coast until the 2004 civil war, when she returned to France and later began to work by drawing on the traditions of matriarchal akan societies in Ghana and Ivory Coast as well as those of her Creole culture. Each of her syncretic works combines elements from these different universes, whose symbols she explores through an interrogation of the spaces and the expressions of femininity and the relationships between craft traditions and a modernized, industrial society.
Through installations that blend textiles and sculpture composed of what she describes as “encounters between industrial materials such as aluminium, copper and brass with natural materials such as raffia fibre, rope, tree sap and shells”, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien produces ecosystems where materials enter into relation and cohabitation with one another. In this way, she creates landscapes or maps which dialogue with practices of cartography and with what she calls her “vêtures” [“vestments”], as well as everyday with objects. In a poetic form that interlaces words and materials, combining text and textiles, her works question the bonds that human beings cultivate with their environment and with the living world as a whole.
For her project at the Palais de Tokyo, Marie-Claire 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, which will be temporarily rehoused for the occasion. The use of pre-existing pieces is a recurrent practice in her oeuvre, where works are regularly bought into new configurations where forms can borrow from and renew one another, multiplying outwards in an infinite exploration.
Curator : Daria de Beauvais
Exhibition assistant : Natacha Marini