Samuel Fosso

Autoportrait is the first comprehensive survey of self-portraits by Samuel Fosso, one of the most significant African photographic artists working today. Since the mid-1970s, Fosso has focused on self-portraiture and performance, envisioning variations of identity in the postcolonial era. Spanning his early self-portraits in black-and-white from the 1970s through to his most recent, continually inventive exercises in self-presentation, highlights from his remarkable body of work include the vibrant and colorful series "Tati" (1997), in which Fosso playfully inhabits a range of African and African American characters and archetypes, and the magisterial "African Spirits" (2008), wherein he poses, with uncanny precision, as icons of the pan-African liberation and Civil Rights movements, such as Angela Davis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Patrice Lumumba, and Nelson Mandela.

With new essays and research by leading scholars and writers, Autoportrait demonstrates Fosso's unique departure from the traditions of West African studio photography, established in the 1950s and 1960s 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 landmark monograph reveals an unprecedented photographic project—one that consistently reflects and commemorates themes in global visual culture, and covers the range of expressive applications of the photographic medium.

Edited by Okwui Enwezor, Autoportrait features contributions by Quentin Bajac, Yves Chatap, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Jean Marc Patras, Terry Smith, Claire Staebler, James Thomas, and Artur Walther, as well as an in-depth conversation between Samuel Fosso and Okwui Enwezor.

352 pages, 171 images; 24 x 28 cm; cloth-bound hardcover; ISBN 978-3-95829-612-1; Published by Steidl / The Walther Collection.

Publication date: spring 2020.

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