Samuel Fosso, the iconic contemporary African photographer, is exhibiting his work “TATI” at CHRISTOPHE PERSON Gallery in Paris, France, through June 10, 2023. Samuel Fosso is known for his virtuosity in self-portraiture and is represented by the young gallery CHRISTOPHE PERSON after choosing it as his agent. The gallery will present the entirety of his iconic series “TATI“, created in 1997 for the 50th anniversary of the famous store in Barbès, featuring archetypal characters from the Western imagination. This series has little market presence and this is the first time it will be shown in a gallery or fair.
Samuel Fosso began his photographic career at the age of 13, opening a studio in Bangui, Central African Republic, where he captured official portraits, group portraits and life events during the day. At night, he staged and captured his own body for his self-portraits. He has won numerous awards, including first prize at the Rencontres of Bamako in 1994.
The self-portraits of the contemporary photographer are in the collections of major museums around the world, including the Tate Modern, MoMA, the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac. His work initiated the genre of portrait photography, which has become the preferred mode of expression for contemporary African artists, now highly sought after by collectors.
The iconic “TATI” series is historic in many ways, transcending the original commission from the famous Barbès store in Paris in 1997, where Samuel Fosso, Seydou Keïta, and Malick Sidibé were invited to recreate a studio and take portraits of passersby. Samuel Fosso refused the initial proposal for the project and made 10 self-portraits in color using clothing and accessories from the store. He portrays archetypal characters, such as the bourgeois, the rocker, the pirate, the businessman or the chef who sold Africa to the colonizers, in a frenzy of color and extravagant clothing. The series is a joyful and colorful masquerade that reveals a political dimension. Samuel Fosso plays with Western and even political stereotypes, such as the “Chief“, representative of a decadent monarchy that sold Africa to the colonizers, dressed in unconventional ceremonial clothes.
The “TATI” series represents a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire works by one of the most important photographers of our time. It is an opportunity to witness Samuel Fosso‘s creativity, which transcends the barriers of race, gender and culture to convey a universal message. His self-portraits challenge and redefine gender, showcasing his technical skills and artistic vision.
CHRISTOPHE PERSON Gallery‘s exhibition of Samuel Fosso’s “TATI” series is a rare opportunity to view and acquire work by one of the most iconic photographers of our time. This series is a masterpiece that challenges Western and political stereotypes while conveying a universal message. The artist photographer self-portraits redefine the genre, showcasing his technical skill and artistic vision.