Lanin Saint-Étienne Yeanzi (1988, born in Katiola, Côte d’Ivoire) is a contemporary and multi-award winning artist living between Côte d'Ivoire and France.
Questioning the concept of identity and the notion of cultural and collective heritage for identity formation is Yéanzi's main theme. His approach is at once historical, philosophical and utopian.
"My role as an artist is to be a mirror of society. If you like, I am a kind of repository of culture and collective memory, a collective conscience". (Yeanzi, 2021)
Since 2013, the artist has been working with recycled plastic, which he melts and drips onto various surfaces to create human figures and faces. The anonymity of his subjects, created by the uncontrolled process, challenges the established assumption of the portrait genre to capture the sitter and thus the individual in their identity. His work can be divided into three series - Persona, Projection, Colloquium - which revolve around the central theme of identity.
Yeanzi refines his aesthetic in the technical execution and thematic expression of his visual vocabulary by using different materials (canvas, fabric, plexiglass, tubes, paper, photography, handmade silkscreen, pictograms, etc.). Through his unique technique of fusing recycled plastic into faces, he synthesises and contrasts the millennia-old cultural richness of Africa with the current development of modern societies. Plastic also conveys a critical, thought-provoking message against today's throwaway society and our reckless treatment of the planet. This density of elements adds to the complexity and understanding of his work.
Yeanzi graduated first in his class at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Abidjan in 2012. His works have been exhibited in museums, art fairs and institutions around the world and are part of prestigious public and private collections (Fondations Edmond de Rothschild, Collection Leridon, Schulting Art Collection, Mohammed VI Museum...). Last year, he received the great honour of being selected for the 59th Biennale Arte di Venezia 2022. Yeanzi is also currently part of the museum exhibition at the Kunsthal KaDE Amerfoot in the Netherlands, which features works from the renowned Schulting Collection.