Clay Apenouvon was born in Togo. In his youth, he had a conflictual relationship with the school institution. Far from the limits imposed by the school, he builds, manufactures and draws, from an early age, it is in the imagination that he tracks the source of his blossoming.
He entered a silk-screen printing workshop as an apprentice and this experience was to be definitive as it allowed him to become aware of his creative capacity. Interested very early in the power that the image can use on the person and dominating the methods of painting and drawing, he attests to his desire to give his creation a more notable extension and to realize himself. He then returned to reading and the desire to learn, drawing from books an artistic motivation.
In 1992, he left Togo for France and met many artists. He is also intrigued by the New Realism, whose creation is represented by a real part. These revelations nourished his creation by adding the substance of the soul in the object. His work is then the unmistakable concretization of his idea.
Clay Apenouvon then found black plastic, a dark stretchy film used in world trade to package and protect products. The qualities of this material, as well as the imagery the artist associates with it, will make this plastic a common component in his work. It is the material with which he makes imitations or substitutions of objects, and of which he makes masterpieces. The delicacy of the material is then distinguished from the heaviness of the implications that it provides to the work.
He thus questions the natural stakes by advancing the overflow of plastic in our current circumstance. A move to emphasize this biological fiasco and the present and future results and risk of our lifestyles.
In October 2013, stunned by the shipwreck off Lampedusa. In search of a better life in Europe, a large number of young Africans embarked on a perilous journey across the Mediterranean. Clay Apenouvon has therefore highlighted in many of his works this unfortunate account, relayed by the media, but whose magnitude and gravity are difficult to apprehend by press articles.
His works are then accused of a sad darkness when he establishes an alignment between the oil spill and the collections of shipwrecked travelers heading for the rocks of the coast. Through this shocking similarity, he condemns the apathy of feeling in the face of these human calamities as well as the dehumanization created by discussions of migration.
To give back their humanity to each person adrift, he places in his installations common objects. These ownerless objects, memories of lives and elements of individual accounts.
Clay Apenouvon also brings into his works the survival blankets used to protect survivors, a methodology for him to place the experience of transients who have left the African continent, carried by the hope of a higher life that ends up being a deception.