YeanzI

Born 1988 in Katiola, Ivory Coast Lives and works in Bingerville, Ivory Coast

Lanin Saint-Étienne Yéanzi, Ivorian artist, is a rising star on the African art scene. He graduated from ENBA (École Nationale des Beaux-Arts) in 2012 as best of the class and has won several art competitions (Nairay Grand Prize 2013 and Bene Hoane Prizes. His works are exhibited in Abidjan and internationally in galleries and at art fairs (London, New York, South Africa, Dubai, Dakar). Today, Yéanzi lives and works in Bingerville, a suburb of the economic capital Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.

The theme of identity is central to Yéanzi's work. Since 2013, the artist has been working with plastic, which he melts and lets drip onto the surface without using a brush in order to make faces and human forms appear. This choice of media limits the artist’s control of the process, the dipping of the plastic highlights the tension between intention and chance, which is inherent to art and calls for reflection on this phenomena.

While creating his works, Yéanzi collects the stories of people who remain anonymous, thus challenging the established approach to the genre, the assumption that the person portrayed should be known. The discontinuity of his portraits, their subjective appearances are in harmony with his questions about identity, which is as unstable and as hard to capture as are faces and facial expressions of his models. Over time, Yéanzi's view widened and wandered from the individual to the group, which must be understood as a collective entity, an entity which also deserves to be portrayed. In his works, he also questions the concept of inheritance, and the form of amnesia associated with it, as well as its significance for identity formation.

Biography / CV