Yamou's handiwork at Chaumont-sur-Loire celebrates the unity of nature and highlights the fact that “all of the components of a metabolic process are useful to another process”.
"The figure-of-eight structure linking the hornbeam and chestnut trees evokes the inexhaustible cycle of nature, the link that exists between all life forms and which reminds us of our own history and our own link with the plant world - without end.” Yamou.
"What sets Yamou's sculptures quite remarkably apart is that they are covered with hundreds of nails in reference to the N’Kondé statuettes from Bas Congo. The small statues, usually anthropomorphous or zoomorphic, are studded with nails and metal strips. These fetishes, supposedly endowed with supernatural forces, were used for casting a spell or putting a curse on someone... By putting nails in the presence of plants, the artist seeks to set a double process in motion: the technique that waters the helexine to feed it oxidises the metal of the nail. In other words, the water added makes one part of the sculpture grow at the same time as it deteriorates the other.” Michel Gauthier
The structural matter – metal nails and tar – harks back to a project initiated by the artist a few years ago “on the cohabitation and interaction between living matter – fertile, plants, photosynthesis – and sterile matter – tar, metal, etc. This cohabitation highlights the principle of a world in continuity in which life makes up but one part of an infinite Whole”.
Yamou au Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2016 - © DR
Born in 1959 in Casablanca, Yamou splits his time between Paris and Tahannaout, south of Marrakesh. After graduating from the Sorbonne with a DEA (French postgraduate degree) in sociology, he would go on to study drawing at the University of Toulouse le Mirail before turning his attentions to painting and sculpture. In 1990, he held his first exhibition in the Étienne Dinet Gallery in Paris.
Yamou has since exhibited in several galleries in Morocco and other countries. The plant world forms a key source of inspiration for him. His work reveals the interpenetrations of plants and interlacings between the plant components.
His cactus sculptures studded with nails have been praised in a number of international art journals. In his paintings, the artist shows an interest in the organic world. Petals, corolla, are examined closely by the artist to reveal the riches they harbour within.
"Yamou is the figure of a painter in the garden - a tireless defender of living organisms. In his “world canvasses”, the life force bursts out in cellular, germinative or liquid forms. Inspired by the infinitely large and the infinitely small, it builds a bridge between the microscopic world and the immense cosmos.” Marie Moignard