Retracing a career of almost 50 years, this retrospective exhibition of the work of Samuel Fosso brings together, for the first time in France, all of his major series.

  • Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait Série « Black Pope », 2017
    © Samuel Fosso. Courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris
  • Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait Série « 70’s Lifestyle », 1975-78
    © Samuel Fosso. Courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris
  • Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait Série « 70’s Lifestyle », 1975-78
    © Samuel Fosso. Courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris
  • Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait Série « African Spirits », 2008
    © Samuel Fosso - musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
  • Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait Série « Tati », Le Golfeur, 1997
    © Samuel Fosso. Courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris
  • Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait Série « Tati », La Femme américaine libérée des années 70, 1997
    © Samuel Fosso. Courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

“When I work, it’s always a performance that I choose to undertake. I link my body to this figure, because I want to translate its history”

–  Samuel Fosso

The exhibition

Working between photography, self-portraiture and performance, his 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.

Comprising more than 300 prints, the exhibition brings together iconic series, lesser-known works, as well as archival material and previously unpublished, unseen images, displayed principally in large-scale ensembles.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.

_______

The exhibition has been produced by the MEP with the support of Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne and in collaboration with our international touring partner.

The exhibition is the occasion to a collaboration between the MEP and the Steidl publishing house through the production of the French version of the first monographic work devoted to Samuel Fosso; Autoportrait, collective, ed Steidl, 2020.

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

With the support of

Become a patron of the MEP

Join and support