Samuel Fosso. Photography, self-portraiture and performance.
Working between photography, self-portraiture and performance, Samuel Fosso work occupies a central position in the international contemporary art world.
Born in 1962 in Kumba, Cameroon, Fosso survived the civil war in Nigeria, before settling to live with his uncle in Bangui in the Central African Republic, where he began his career as a studio photographer at the age of 13. It was here that, outside of his daily work making portraits to order, he began making self-portraits for his own pleasure, creating a series of alternate identities challenging representational conventions. Ever since this time Fosso has continued to reinvent himself through his self-portraits which have allowed him to reach beyond the limitations usually imposed by society, geography and time. Above all his work questions what is at stake in accepted codes of representation and identity, as well as celebrating freedom of expression.
More than 300 prints, the exhibition at MEP Paris brings together iconic series, lesser-known works, as well as archival material and previously unpublished, unseen images, displayed principally in large-scale ensembles. By offering overviews of both Fosso’s artistic practice and his personal story, and indeed the relationship between the two, the show offers a complete account of the artist.