(born in 1971, Bénin)
He fled his authoritarian father and moved to Nigeria at the age of
16. From 1990 to 1995, in Lagos, he learned to repair sewing machines. As he says, "there are too many fishermen, tailors or masons on the lake, and no one can do this job..." Today, he lives with two wives and ten children and owns his own sewing machine repair shop in a small town in southern Benin. In the back of his store, hidden from view, he fills school notebooks, A4 and A3 sheets with sewing machine models.
We can see a real evolution in his drawings. At first purely utilitarian, very detailed, his first technical drawings have gradually been transformed. They now reveal a bestiary with vegetal curves.
Ezekiel shows a kind of exploratory state where the senses are first and take over reason. He is looking for the minimal scheme devoid of all superfluous and the fundamental characteristics of the sewing machine.
Once his system of representation is safely established, Messou can thus unroll his catalog and decline the marks and the models of machines. His increasingly refined and stylized motifs tend to become nothing more than silhouettes. It is no longer the mechanism of the machines that Messou documents, but rather their finery, their materiality, the name of the model he likes to represent.
His works are now part of important collections: The Collection de l'Art Brut (Switzerland); the Museum of Modern Art in Lille (France); Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection (Portugal) and Art Brut Collection of Bruno Decharme (France).
Group exhibitions :
2019 - Of A Life/Time, The Gallery of Everything, London, England
2014 - Art Brut Dans Le Monde, the Art Brut Collection, Lausanne, Switzerland