« I try to use humor to convey messages to help change and evolve mentalities. »
Ilyes Messaoudi is a Tunisian plastic artist and designer born in Tunis in 1990 and based in Paris. He is known for his Western and Oriental pop fusion both in terms of narrative, process and aesthetic. He spent two years at the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences et Technologies de Design in Tunis (ESSTED). He committed early on to a career as an artist, encouraged by his parents. He has had solo shows in Paris and Tunis, as well as group exhibitions in London, New York, Washington, Madrid and Doha. In 2021, Foreign Agent presented Kahina, his first solo exhibition in Switzerland.
Ilyes Messaoudi plays with notions of identity mergers and confusions, exalted by a cultural revolution. With his paintings, sequins and collages, he becomes contemporary griot, an enchanter as naive as he is ironic. For Kahina, Messaoudi was inspired by a 7th-century historical narrative to create twelve works on painted glass with added gold and silver leaves, as well as tracing paper and wool. This unique series will be followed in early 2022 by the launch of a book by Aurélien Simon edited by Orients Editions.
His work holds a powerful narrative infused with traditional storytelling, blended with the contemporary and also addressing pressing issues. His creations act as a catalyst for critical thinking and social change. Women are a major inspiration in his art: according to him, they represent the key to a real revolution.