Samuel Fosso

MEP - Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
10 Nov 2021 - 13 Mar 2021

Samuel Fosso

The MEP presents the first major retrospective dedicated to the Franco-Cameroonian photographer Samuel Fosso. This major exhibition, which spans 50 years of career, looks back on a work that today holds a central place on the international artistic scene. Emblematic series, more confidential works and unpublished youth photographs complement each other to retrace a journey that oscillates between intimate introspection and collective narratives.

Born in 1962 in Cameroon, Samuel Fosso began his career very young as a studio photographer, in the lineage of Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé. He became known with his self-portraits and photographic performances and acquired international fame during his participation in the first edition of the Bamako Meetings in 1994.

In 1997, he produced the “Tati” series – in which he played various stereotypical characters such as The Liberated American Woman, The Golfer or The Rocker – which would become iconic. Through these funny and biting images, Samuel Fosso deeply questions the notion of personal and social identity. This ability to blend in with other lives, other journeys, is the common thread of a work through which the artist explores the freedom to invent and to tell.

If the genre of autofiction, and more particularly of self-portrait, was widely used by artists from the 1970s, Samuel Fosso gave this practice a new scope, both political and historical, fictional and intimate. . Incarnating in front of the lens the outstanding personalities of history and social archetypes constitutes for Fosso the means of existing in the world as much as a demonstration of the power of the photographic medium in the construction of a figure, of a myth.

With more than 200 works, mixing vintage prints from the 70s, emblematic color and black and white series from the 1990s to 2000 such as “Tati” and “African Spirits”, and recent projects such as the monumental series of Polaroids “SIXSIXSIX”, this exhibition offers for the first time a comprehensive look at the pioneering work of Samuel Fosso.

Samuel Fosso dedicates this exhibition to the memory of Okwui Enwezor.




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