How is a residency in the Marais, at the Cité internationale des arts, like?
"It's a great experience. It is interesting to live in an artistic community and at the same time have your own autonomy.
We have a really appropriate and pleasant place to work, a space to experiment and do research. It's a great place to question yourself or not and refocus.
The days are divided between moments of calm and dynamic moments. When you are in residence, you are supported by an artistic structure and people who can help you and accompany you in different approaches related to your work.
This residency allows me to set up projects on which I have been working for some time and which I am developing here. I do research here and I discover new things."
Your current and future projects?
"Whoever can undo this knot knows the secret of the already.
In the context of my work, this Akan quotation makes a lot of sense to me, in my creations but also in the very process of my work.
Within the Cité internationale des arts, I am deepening my research on creolization and syncretism. Currently, I am thinking about works by different artists, philosophers and researchers, I question the clothing, trying to show what could be of the female order in relation or not to a constraint. This is exactly what happens in everyday life. But in my work I connect the feminine to the masculine because I think that in existence beings are connected to the cosmos, to the elements, to the earth on which we walk, to the air, to the oxygen we breathe, to the fauna and flora that surround us and that contribute to produce this air that we breathe more or less healthy depending on where we are....
For years, I have been working with rolls of metal sheets that I use as ribbons, large or small, and I let them spread out on the ground in different ways, and the Cité's studio is a great place to continue experimenting with this work with different materials. On some scrolls and at my discretion, I engrave poems, texts on these metal supports which can be made of copper, brass, aluminium and I arrange them in my own way to create a particular atmosphere. I am quite secret in my acts of creation and only reveal them when the time is right."
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien is a multidisciplinary artist who graduated with a DNSEP from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l'ENSAPC de Paris-Cergy. Her artistic work is inspired by the cultures of the world: in her work, she seeks to create encounters between the elements of diverse cultures that she then brings together, while overcoming them with a syncretism that unites them. She is interested in the complex relationships between daily life, universal popular culture and specific traditional practices. She is inspired on the one hand by the elements of its French and Guadeloupian Creole cultures, but also by traditional objects from the matriarchal institution of Côte d'Ivoire, which serve to weigh the value of things.
In her installations, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien creates ephemeral poetic narratives in perpetual renewal, thus creating "witness" pieces of past stories. She continues her research in the field of women.
Through her installations she creates poetic narratives with a myriad of cultural influences leading to a "plural identity". She defines herself as a poetry storyteller, a maker of new forms: not as a demiurge, but according to creolization procedures playing "from differentiated 'zones' (...), to extract her original material".
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien exhibited her work in Paris during the 61st Salon de Montrouge in 2016 under the direction of Ami Barak and at the Musée du Quai branly. She has also participated in exhibitions in International, London, Benin, United States, Berlin, Ireland where she recently exhibited her work at the 38th International EVA Biennale, curated by Inti Guerrero.