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Welcome Wall, 2015

PASCALE MARTHINE TAYOU
Welcome Wall, 2015

PASCALE MARTHINE TAYOU
b. Cameroon, 1966

Welcome Wall, 2015

75 LED signs
Dimensions variable
Collection of The Bass. Purchased through the John and Johanna Bass Acquisition Fund.

Much of Pascale Marthine Tayou’s itinerant practice involves a core resistance to identification and definition. When encountering the Cameroonian artist’s work, nothing can be taken at face value. Beginning from the transformation of his name (a combination of his mother and father’s names) to create a feminized persona and continuing with his treatment of the materials and forms within his work, Tayou sets out to subvert and transmute narratives. Through the context of existing social, cultural and political structures, Tayou’s creations both mediate between cultures and question the frameworks in which they exist.

Welcome Wall (2015), a site-specific work commissioned for The Bass, is descriptive of its contents; colored LED signs that are clustered together on the wall of the museum’s lobby, with the word “welcome” flashing in over 70 languages. Tayou selected an even distribution of “dominant” (English, Spanish, French and Russian) and “non-dominant” (Cherokee, Tagalog, Tamil and Yoruba) languages for the configuration. The signs, found broadly in convenience stores and gas stations, participate in the legacy of the readymade. Usually displayed singularly, the signs in Welcome Wall are amalgamated into a bright, blinking lingual map. The work, at once emphasizes the global connectedness of humanity as well as discussions about fractured or erased communities, and the civic role of the institution. The work first went on view coinciding with Tayou’s solo exhibition, Beautiful, on view at The Bass from October 29, 2017 to May 21, 2018, and is on long-term view.

Pascale Marthine Tayou (b. 1966, Yaoundé, Cameroon) lives and works between Belgium and Cameroon. Tayou has contributed to many major international exhibitions and art events, such as documenta 11 (2002) and the Venice Biennale (2005 and 2009). He has had solo shows at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (Rome, Italy, 2004 and 2013), Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (Ghent, Belgium, 2004), Malmö Konsthall (Malmö, Sweden, 2010), Mudam (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, 2011), Kunsthaus Bregenz (Bregenz, Austria, 2014), Fowler Museum at UCLA (Los Angeles, United States, 2014), the Serpentine Sackler Gallery (London, United Kingdom, 2015), Bozar (Brussels, Belgium, 2015), Musée de l’Homme (Paris, France, 2015) and CAC Malaga (Malaga, Spain, 2016).

 

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