Pascale Marthine Tayou

Pascale Marthine Tayou

School of Clowns

“I think that children, who are more innocent, are better at wearing their masks than us adults.” In this video the Cameroonian born artist Pascale Marthine Tayou discusses his fascinating work, including his photographic series ‘L’Ecole des Clowns’.

Tayou argues that children at school are taught how to wear a mask, but lose this ability as they grow older, which is the notion that lies behind ‘L’Ecole des Clowns’. The project started when he came across a man, who was selling out things from his shop, and one of his boxes was full of clown costumes. This is symptomatic of how Tayou often comes across the subject of his work – by chance – and he values this element of discovery, of finding the unknown: “I like collecting things. Everything that comes into my hands presents a possibility, a potential, and always has a multifaceted life.”

“The life that we all lead is enveloped by a terrifying darkness. So one always has to have the courage to bring out the light.” According to Tayou, his work is also a way of bringing out this light in the world.

Pascale Marthine Tayou (b. 1966) is a Cameroonian born artist, whose artwork deals with translation, interpretation and displacements in general. Tayou’s work is recognised nationally and internationally and he has exhibited widely including at Musée du Louvre in Paris, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Manchester Art Gallery. In 2011 Tayou won the ARKEN Prize, one of the biggest art prizes in Denmark. He lives and works in Belgium. For more about him see: http://www.pascalemarthinetayou.com/

Pascale Marthine Tayou was interviewed by Louise Hauerberg at his home in Ghent, Belgium in February 2016.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Cover photo: ‘L’Ecole des Clowns’ (2009) by Pascale Marthine Tayou
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Julie Nord

    The Power of Drawing

    “It’s the closest you get to silence – or skin. There’s so little between me as an artist and my material.” Artist Julie Nord here shares her attraction to the "no bullshit" of drawing. Visit her studio and take a peek at how she makes her surreal, fairy tale-like drawings.

  • Nina Saunders

    A Cultural Warrior

    Meet artist Nina Saunders who plays with the familiar by twisting it in surprising ways. She here discusses her humorous yet disturbing work – made from discarded upholstered furniture and stuffed animals – which comments on our world.

  • Erica Jong

    Sexuality and Creativity

    “The urge to create and the urge to copulate are very close.” Watch the iconic feminist writer Erica Jong speak candidly of being fuelled creatively by desire, her experiences as a female writer and what she has come to realize about men.

  • Karl Ove Knausgård

    On 'Madame Bovary'

    “This controlled perfection, that I usually don’t like, elevates it.” Karl Ove Knausgård – author of ‘My Struggle’ – here shares his love of the classic novel ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert, which he has read three times at different stages of his life.

  • Mette Winckelmann

    Woman to Woman

    ”You must evaluate whether the system you’re part of could be effectuated differently.” Meet artist Mette Winckelmann, who believes that abstract painting communicates deeper than language, and explore her visual take on gender politics.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Adam Caruso

    Novelty is nonsense

    "The European city is one of the great human inventions!” Adam Caruso advocates building with a deep sense of history and tradition. Meet the architect behind the award-winning Tate Britain conversion and numerous Gagosian galleries.

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    A World of Collage

    Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn juxtaposes pixelated images from the media. His works are not about technology, says the artist: “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think.”

  • Jonathan Safran Foer

    On Donald Trump

    Jonathan Safran Foer, star of American literature, offers interesting views on America’s new president and the consequences Trump will have on American culture. "The place for literature may be even more important than before," he says.

  • Dorte Mandrup

    Where Place Meets Sculpture

    Rising from the landscape in a place rich with materiality and history sits architect Dorte Mandrup’s new Wadden Sea Centre. Meet the renowned architect and see a building were “everything comes together.”