Biography

Born 1959 in Casablanca, Morocco

Lives and works between Paris and Thannaout in Morocco.

In 1978, Abderrahim Yamou, known as Yamou, left Casablanca and studied biology and sociology at the University of Toulouse, and then at the Sorbonne in Paris. At the same time, he studied history of art and design. He moved to Paris in 1986 and devoted himself in 1990. His work is now recognized and exhibited in international galleries and museums.

As from 1997, Yamou used sand and earth to produce paintings that featured animals – including ibexes, rams and gazelles – inspired by the cave paintings of the Atlas Mountains. In 1998, he started painting in muted and subtle shades, playing with transparency effects, plant motifs, leaves, flowers, branches, gardens and forests, partially covered with sings and calligraphy. According too him, « Plants are both continuity and change. They are also photosynthesis, as they bring life. » His poetic gardens are created with « the idea of seeing something turn green. » His paintings most often come in the form of a diptych, so as to understand how two different elements « can merge together and become one simple thing » (Les Petits ailleurs).

In the 2000, his germinations came to the very principle of the earliest forms of nature. In his laboratory-studio where he « explores in the manner of a scientist, Yamou represents cellular networks (Cellules rouges et vertes; Red and green cells, 2015). These organic forms and cells, which appear to be enlargements of microscopic elements, spring multiply in endless intertwining; giving rise to cosmogonies, to what he calls the « ordinary miracle of life. » He also creates sculptures using materials (utensils, tools) and everyday objects (La Chaise; The Chair, 2010. His sculptures, inspired from traditional African art, in particular the Congolese N’konde statues, are spiked with hundred of nails, these « vibrant, oxidizable metal surfaces. » Small human silhouettes or live plants emerge from or are placed on them, evoking in turn the fragility of life.

Pascale Le Thorel