Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien

Marie-Claire Messouma is a creator of links, between cultures, countries, generations, and materials, mixing in her works the natural and the industrial, the precious and the common, thus sublimating the ordinary. The status of the artist’s works is plural, sometimes cartographies or protective totems, they also seem to take on the guise of sacred relics, sheltering organic matter, horsehair or strands of hair, some of which are arranged in such a way as to evoke eyelashes, and therefore a look, a presence.


Marie-Claire Messouma’s maps are symbols, in the true sense of the word, of the representation of what cannot be seen. If the object they embody is fluid, the presence of the body inhabits these works, beyond any figuration. The materiality of the raffia, the presence of the hair, the matt surface of the clay heads, the shine of the aluminium, all appeal to the senses, to the desire to touch, to decipher the work, to discover its hidden meaning.


In the middle of one of her works, Map #91, is a poem, written in a circle, with no beginning and no end, and the drawing of an Akan symbol, a double crocodile, with two heads, two tails, but with one body. This symbol translates the Ashanti (Ghana) proverb: «We have many mouths but we have only one belly». It signifies the unity of the family, the group or the clan, beyond the interests of each. For it is indeed cosmic unity that Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien’s works speak of, as she writes, like an incantation: «I bind myself to the skies. I bind myself to the seas. I bind myself to the earth. I am waters. I am woman. Man. That I love which is in tune with the Asters with all the carnal mass of its diverse body.».


Between sophistication and simplicity, the works of Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien unfold their meanings and invite us to play hopscotch, remembering our childhood, assembling little by little the path that will allow us from the earth to reach the sky together. «Embrace life. Let yourself blossom. [...] Dance!»