Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

Off to a flying start curated by Ami Barak

PLASTIC BAGS, 2001-2011
Photo: Giorgio Benni

Suitable for all ages

PLASTIC BAGS, 2001-2011

Pascale Marthine Tayou - Ghent, Belgium


Pascale Marthine Tayou works once again with one of his favorite basic composition elements: the plastic bag. The almost banal simplicity of the bags acts here as a reminder of the numerous ordinary stories of our daily lives. This most common object, which is available to all, has become a symbol of the development of our global economies; a sign of the overpowering consumer societies in which we live. But the plastic bag is also a symbol of travel and migration, of the nomad mobility which is a growing feature of today’s world and a central theme in the artist’s work.

This huge sculpture made of nets and thousands of bags thus becomes a symbol of the human condition: contemporary men are entangled in a system of repetitive actions, in a network of physically and culturally narrow spaces. At the same time, man is always attempting to share, searching for moments of evasion, trying to escape to unknown or unexpected horizons.

Today, finally, plastic bag use is being limited, prevented from further endangering the world's ecosystem and polluting the environment. What this huge installation suggests is a beautiful, different and politically correct use of plastic bags: to transform them instead into a work of art.

Pascale Marthine Tayou was born in Nkongsamba (Cameroon) in 1966. Starting his career as an artist in the 1990s, he changed his name, taking a double name in the female form: Pascal(e) Marthin(e). Exhibitions in Cameroon were followed by shows in Germany, France and Belgium, where he currently resides.

His work is deliberately mobile. Each work has a feature in common: they dwell upon an individual moving through the world and exploring the issue of the global village.


Bell Trinity Square, 483 Bay Street (North of Queen Street West)

This project is indoors.