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Samuel Fosso: Autoportrait
Edited with text and interview by Okwui Enwezor. Foreword by Artur Walther, Jean-Marc Patras. Text by Quentin Bajac, Yves Chatap, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Terry Smith, Claire Staebler, James Thomas.
"Engaging with notions of perception and sexuality, Fosso’s groundbreaking portraiture reflects themes of global culture and the freedom of self-expression.” –Vanity Fair
A New York Times Book Review 2020 holiday gift guide pick
Autoportrait is the first comprehensive survey of the multifaceted oeuvre of Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso (born 1962). Since the mid-1970s, Fosso has focused on self-portraiture and performance, envisioning variations of identity in the postcolonial era. From Fosso’s early black-and-white self-portraits from the 1970s to his recent exercises in self-presentation, highlights include the vibrant series Tati (1997), in which he playfully inhabits African and African American characters and archetypes; and the magisterial portraits of African Spirits (2008), where he poses as icons of the pan-African liberation and Civil Rights movements, such as Angela Davis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Patrice Lumumba and Nelson Mandela.
This landmark monograph demonstrates Fosso’s unique departure from the traditions of West African studio photography, established in the 1950s and ’60s by modern masters Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé. By charting his conceptual practice of self-portraiture, and sustained engagement with notions of sexuality, gender and self-representation, this book reveals an unprecedented photographic project.
Featured image is reproduced from 'Samuel Fosso: Autoportrait.'
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
Engaging with notions of perception and sexuality, Fosso’s groundbreaking portraiture reflects themes of global culture and the freedom of self-expression.
From his earliest black and white self-portraits from the 1970s to his most recent theatrical works, Fosso never resorts to the kinds of cliched depictions of the black body that persist in Western photography. Instead, Fosso bears witness to the immeasurable possibilities of Black identity.
[Fosso is] very well known for are photographic images in which [his] studio became a theater, a liberated space where [he] played with codes of representation of gender, sexuality, masculinity, and fashion.
In Autoportrait, the artist’s body of work is like attending a family reunion in portraiture form. The book conjures an intoxicating tranquility...filling viewers with a warmness and familiarity. The sophisticatedly-designed volume feels like it was made up of photographs that were hidden away in a shoebox under a bed, only to be pulled out and treasured for a short while. Thankfully, Steidl’s newest edition will allow the world to revel in Fosso’s glow.
New York Times
Samuel Fosso: Autoportrait displays the sweep of his work ... in which he photographed his face, uncostumed and propless, for four weeks, documenting a grand tour of his emotions, nuanced and vivid.
Finalist for the Lucie Photobook Prize Award
Fosso’s work is a series of cumulative self-confrontation and subjectivity—he immerses himself in a dialogue with the camera as well as with various social constructs of race and gender. He engages the sociopolitical complexities of African and African diaspora history, never shying away from difficult subjects. His ability to blend the personal with the political and to infuse his portraits with layers upon layers of meaning lends itself to an incredible degree of flexibility and complexity. With Autoportrait, Fosso takes iconic and painful imagery alike and shapes them into something truly extraordinary.
Widely regarded as one of Africa’s most important contemporary artists, Samuel Fosso is renowned for his penetrative self-portraiture, which explores pan-African identity, and has led to his epithet ‘the man of a thousand faces’.
Lucy Kumara Moore
It amazes me that this book wasn’t published years ago.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/24/2020
Featured image, from Samuel Fosso’s 2008 African Spirits series, is reproduced from Autoportrait, a new release from Steidl and the Walther Collection, New York, and the first comprehensive survey of the artist's work. Since the 1970s, Fosso’s self-portraiture and performance have challenged identity in the postcolonial era. In this series in particular, Fosso takes on historic images of 1960s revolutionaries, from Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela to Angela Davis and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. In an interview with Okwui Enwezor, Fosso discusses the underlying concept of African Spirits. “While all the series I have done can be understood by viewers as discrete and self-contained, and therefore different, to me there is one unifying theme behind all of them—and that is the question of power. I am particularly interested in the role that slavery played in the history of Africa… I see slavery as connected to all these questions of freedom, liberation, colonialism and power. To me, slavery was the source, and I wanted to deal with it in a really deep way. My goal was to restage key images and figures in this history from King during the American civil rights movement to Kwame Nkrumah, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and Aimé Césaire during the independence and liberation of Africa. To my mind, all these struggles had one thing in common, and that is the history of slavery. And these figures were committed to the idea of freedom for black people in order to reclaim their culture and human dignity.” continue to blog
STEIDL/THE WALTHER COLLECTION, NEW YORK
USD $85.00 | CAN $120
Pub Date: 8/11/2020
Active | In stock
USD $95.00 | CAN $135
Pub Date: 7/14/2020
Active | In stock