Lanin Saint-Étienne Yeanzi is a contemporary and multi-award winning artist. He lives and works between Abidjan and Paris. Yeanzi graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts d'Abidjan in 2012, at top of his class. This year, Yeanzi was given the great honour of being selected to represent the Ivory Coast at the 59th Biennale Arte di Venezia 2022.
His works mainly revolve around identity issues and understanding the evolution of humanity, which he creates using different materials, media and techniques (molten plastic, fabric, plexiglass, panels, paper, PVC, photography, handmade screen printing, collage, pictograms, calligraphic signs, ideograms, etc.). Since 2013, the artist has been working with plastic, which he melts and drips onto the surface to create human forms and faces. The choice of this medium limits the artist's control over the process. The anonymity of his subjects challenges the established assumption of the portrait genre that the person portrayed should be known.
Over time, Yeanzi's gaze has moved from the individual to the group, which represents a collective entity and deserves to be portrayed. The discontinuity of his portraits and their subjective appearances are consistent with his questions about identity, which is as unstable and elusive as the faces and facial expressions of his models.
His works can be divided into three series - Persona (2013), Projection (2016), Colloquium (2018) - which revolve around the core theme of "La Question Identitaire".
"My task as an artist is to be a mirror of society, representing the attitudes, the habits and the shortcomings of this society. If you like, I am kind of repository of of culture and collective memory, of the collective conscience" (Yeanzi, 2021)
Yeanzi exhibits internationally and his works are part of prestigious private and public collections.