top of page

Images, sounds, finished and unfinished sketches, sculptures, tapestries, dance memory, are presented in this exhibition, which brings together all of the production produced during my residency at the Ouidah Museum of the Zinsou Foundation.

This route, written like a dream - with its common thread, but which is never really explained - leaves the possibility of a random wandering.

This dream, specific to each one, remains however here orchestrated by the experiences lived on my way.

It is, cradled by the stories, that the forms arose, influenced by the dances, the powerful and sometimes hummed songs, inaudible if you don't listen...

Each work was thought out and built with the materials available on site, in order to be as accurate as possible in the colors and shapes that this trip offered me.

Cotton, Sè pottery, jute bags used to transport shea butter, synthetic hair braided on women's heads, so many mediums that expressed themselves around me and in everyone's habits.

These works were born from the meeting of a country, its men, its women and its traditions: it is the expression of four months of life in Beninese land.

"Uniting movement and light to sculpture has always been an essential part of my work. Locked in a box, frozen on paper, stopped on canvas or in perpetual repetition, I seek to manipulate and apprehend time, to expose what escapes us, in order to make tangible the invisible relationships and exchanges that unite the spectators between them. "

Pauline Guerrier

The Fantasized Skies of Africa

“ It was when I found myself in these salt-collecting villages, a few kilometers from the city center of Ouidah, the spiritual capital of Benin, that the question of the dream arose. 

How do these people removed from the world apprehend it? Les Ciels Fantasmés d’Afrique is this questioning of the dream and the concern of those for whom the cultivation of the earth is at the center of their activity.

These paintings carry within them the power of the wind and the rain, of the sand drummed by the water during storms, but also of this earth which wakes up and bends under the rays of the sun.

In a country where everything ends up disappearing under the power of the elements, I wondered by what artistic means history had been represented in Benin. 

The frescoes painted on the walls, as well as the Toiles appliqués (hanging technique by assembling plain fabrics, cut out, then sewn by superimposition), have considerably contributed to the royal and religious iconographic representation.

It is through the reinterpretation of these mediums that Les Ciels Fantasmés d'Afrique were born: paintings of fabrics representing those nights when one does not sleep on full moon evenings, those days when one feels the earth carrying she a power filled with magic and spirituality.

These paintings are the image of my dreams. »

Water Dances

“It was through workshops with the children of Ouidah that the “water dances” project was born, in collaboration with the Beninese dancer and choreographer Assiba D. Rachelle Agbossou.

Dance life, dance death, dance love, sing the rain, sometimes walk for miles to get water. 

The way the body interprets, lives and translates its desires, its needs, interests me.

In a country where rites take an important place and have the power to bring about the things so desired, where the body is constantly called upon to sing...  the dance is there, it is part of life and culture.

I proposed to these children to invent movements, to write gestures which for them speak of the rain, of walking, of the earth, of culture.

Influenced by dances they have always known, rituals, stories they have been told, songs they have heard, it is above all in the youth and purity of their bodies and souls that come from these gestures.

These dances, on a floor drummed to the rhythm of percussion, are recorded by painting. The ranges of colors evoking the earth and sky of Africa were produced from pigments found here.

Children are the life that will remain frozen on this canvas. Without them there is nothing, without them no life, without them no traces.

"Dancing is above all communicating, uniting, joining, talking to the other in the depths of his being. Dance is union, union of man with man, of man with the cosmos, of man with god." Maurice Bejart »

Ivory fleeces

“It was while taking an interest in the hairstyles of African women, observing the intricacy of what I call these “hair embroideries”, that I discovered the extraordinary work of Nigerian photographer J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere.

He witnessed the role of these hairstyles, which he photographed throughout his life, and their evolution. 

Ojeikere already spoke of them as sculptures, which is also why he photographed women from behind, to capture most of the volume in his shots and emphasize their sculptural aspect. 

I discovered, thanks to his work, that the braids, the stripes of the weaves, form very precise solids and voids.

The shapes of these hairstyles make sense, some are life-telling, designed for specific weddings or traditions. 

Some mark the transition to adulthood, an ethnicity. The "Agaracha", for example, is worn on a daily basis, the "Pineapple" is more social, the "Mai Bu" is worn for special occasions. But all of them, in the end, sublimate the body of women thanks to these arabesques of hair. 

In Benin, bags, hair, shoes, sublimate women, all in very bright colors, and plastic is still at the heart of African fashion. 

Today, the hair used for these hairstyles is mostly synthetic... Eventually, these locks will remain after those who wear them, just like the photos of J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere...

It is still interesting to ask the question of the durability of these materials. They are an integral part of African consumption.

A woman changes her hairstyle on average four times a month and this work is far from a piece of cake: the synthetic braids are sewn on a base of real hair very short and braided very tightly, and each passage can take four at ten o'clock depending on the complexity of the shapes. 

To get your hair done, we take the time, we sit down, we discuss, we exchange. The lounges are real meeting places, some spend the day there. We eat there and we live there.

The sculptures I have created bear witness to the complexity and precision of this work. Mounted on metal fishing grids, each wick is embroidered by hand, like a golden fleece. 

The voids that we see between the locks are similar to the skulls of these women, which contrast with the darkness of the weave.

These sculptures are a tribute to the beauty of African traditions. »

bottom of page