Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
Série « Tati », Le Golfeur, 1997
© Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

Until March 2022, The MEP (Maison Européenne de la Photographie) is welcoming the first major retrospective of French-Cameroonian photographer Samuel Fosso. This exhibition spans his five-decade career, revisiting bodies of work that explore issues central to the contemporary art scene. Bringing together emblematic series, lesser-known works and never-before-seen photographs from his youth, the exhibition retraces a career that oscillates between personal introspection and collective narratives.

Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
Série « Tati », La Femme américaine libérée des années 70, 1997
© Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
Série « Tati », Le Chef (celui qui a vendu l’Afrique aux colons), 1997
© Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

Born in 1962 in Cameroon, Samuel Fosso began as a photographer at a very young age, working in the studio tradition of Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé. He became known for his self-portraits and photographic performances and gained international recognition when he participated in the first edition of the Rencontres de Bamako photography festival in 1994.

Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
Série « 70’s Lifestyle », 1975-78 © Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

In 1997, he produced his iconic series “Tati”—playing the role of various archetypes, from the Liberated American Woman to the Golf Player and the Rocker. Humorous and biting, these images profoundly call into question the concepts of personal and social identity. Although the genre of autofiction, and more specifically self-portraiture, has been widely used by artists since the 1970s, Samuel Fosso gives this practice a new dimension, one that is all at once political and historical, fictional and intimate.



Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
Série « Le rêve de mon grand-père », 2003
© Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

Embodying key historical figures and social archetypes in front of the camera have become for him not only a way of existing in the world but also a clear demonstration of the power of photography to construct myths.

Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
Série « Mémoire d’un ami », 2000 © Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

Gathering together more than 200 images, including vintage prints from the 1970s, iconic color and black-and-white series from the 1990s and 2000s including “Tati” and “African Spirits”, and such recent projects as “SIXSIXSIX”, an extensive series of large-format Polaroids, this exhibition provides the first comprehensive look at Samuel Fosso’s pioneering work.

Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
« Emperor of Africa », 2013
© Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait
Série « Black Pope », 2017
© Samuel Fosso
courtesy Jean-Marc Patras / Paris

More info at www.mep-fr.org

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