Artist Dossier: Pascale Marthine Tayou

Artist Dossier: Pascale Marthine Tayou

Pascal Marthine Tayou was born in 1967 in Yaoundé, where he began his career as an artist in the 1990s. Heavily influenced by his nomadic lifestyle, the rapidly globalising world and by questions pertaining to identity and social conformity, his international debut came in 1995 at the International Biennale of Kwangju, South Korea. Since then, he’s gone on to garner much international acclaim, securing his position as one of Africa’s leading contemporary artists.

Tayou’s oeuvre cuts across various art forms including sculpture, installation, drawing and video, which according to the artist, have in common the recurrent feature that they dwell upon an individual moving through the world and exploring the issue of the global village. It is in this context that he negotiates his African origins and related expectations.

Charcoal U, mixed media, 2013, 133 x 255 x 5cm

His works may be understood as social, cultural or political constructs that mediate between cultures, or set man and nature in ambivalent relations. In addition, they are characterised by their variability since he confines himself in his artistic work neither to one medium nor to a particular set of issues. While his themes may be various, they all at once use the artist himself as a person and as their point of departure. However, his works are hallmarked by the use of recycled materials, like coloured plastic objects and bags, rags, old clothes, rejected objects and wrecked cars; all of which are symptomatic of contemporary society.

Pascale Marthine Tayou first appeared in auctions  Phillips in London on October 13, 2007 with his Young Collector, 2014, light installation, 100.3 x 290.2 x 8.9cm selling for $23,161 (buyer’s premium inclusive)  against an estimate of $10,158 – $14,221. His most recent appearance at Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary African Art auction in October 2018 saw his mixed media work Lampedusa, 2015, painting, mixed media, 165 x 212 x 8cm fetch an impressive amount of $90,661 (buyer’s premium inclusive) against an estimate of $39,561 – $65,935. However, his highest selling work at auction is his mixed media painting Charcoal U, mixed media, 2013, 133 x 255 x 5cm, which sold at Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary African Art on October 16, 2018, for $98,902 (buyer’s premium inclusive) estimated at $39,561 – $65,935. Other top-selling works include; Cache-Sexe, 2014, mixed media sculpture, 212 x 32 x 10 cm at $67,777 (buyer’s premium inclusive); and Poupées Pascale, 2018, mixed media sculpture at $41,483 (buyer’s premium inclusive).

Cache-Sexe, 2014, mixed media sculpture, 212 x 32 x 10cm

Tayou has participated in several major local and international exhibitions and art events, such as; KAB18, Kampala Art Biennale, Kampala (2018); Dak’art, Biennale de Dakar, Dakar (2018); Art Afrique – le nouvel atelier, Fondation Vuitton, Paris (2017); Opening Show, Zeitz MOOCA, Cape Town (2017);  61e Salon de Montrouge, Paris (2016); Art Dubai, Dubai (2014); Rencontre Photographique, Bamako (2005); and Documenta 11 (2002).

Marthine Tayou brings an intuitive approach to everyday materials, transforming such objects as plastic bags, enamelled pots, tree branches or chalk into immersive installations and colourful, dynamic, and engaging art that captivates our imagination and makes us question our own place on this earth.



Unmasking Leading Contemporary African Artist Pascale Marthine Tayou, retrieved March 7, 2019, from

Biography: Pascal Marthine Tayou, retrieved March 7, 2019, from

Auction results for artworks by Pascale Marthine Tayou, retrieved March 7, 2019, from

adeoluwa oluwajoba is an artist, art writer and a curator-in-training interested in the modes of exhibition-making and its role in fostering critical discourse in the society. he is particularly interested in the critical engagement of art and examining the dynamic ways in which art mirrors and engages the society. As a visual artist, his broad oeuvre explores themes of self-identity, blackness, masculinity and human spaces. oluwajoba holds a B.A in Fine and Applied Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife with a major in Painting.

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