Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien‘s artistic work is deeply influenced by the various cultures that shape her identity. With Guadeloupean and Ivorian origins, she developed her manual skills during her childhood under the guidance of her mother and grandmother. After living in Ivory Coast until the civil war in 2004, she returned to France. Later, her creative process drew inspiration from the cultural traditions of the matriarchal Akan societies in Ghana and Ivory Coast, as well as her Creole heritage.
Each of her pieces uniquely combines elements from these diverse backgrounds. She explores the symbols of these cultures while examining the spaces and expressions of femininity, as well as the relationship with traditional craftsmanship within a modernized, industrialized society. Through installations that interweave textiles and sculptures, incorporating “encounters between industrial materials such as aluminum, copper, and brass with natural materials like raffia fiber, rope, tree sap, and seashells,” in her own words, the artist creates ecosystems where materials interact and coexist.
The Palais de Tokyo project presents a series of recent or previously unseen works, echoing a large stage curtain designed by Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien for the Beffroi performance hall in Montrouge, which has been temporarily relocated for the exhibition. The reuse of pre-existing pieces is a recurring theme in the artist’s creative process, allowing her works to engage in a system of variations, where forms are revisited, renewed, and multiplied in an endless exploration.