Yinka Shonibare MBE, an artist of Nigerian origins living in London, where he was born in 1962, likes to unite different worlds in a single space, because he himself is a product of the multiculturalism that w pervades the modern world. His reflections on identity and memory blend these two cultures in an entirely new aesthetic idiom.When he began to use wax in the 1990s as the material with which he modelled figures from the middle classes of the Victorian era, whom he represented as headless mannequins, he created an artistic trademark that made his work instantly recognizable.Whether models, sculptures, photographs or videos, the artworks of Yinka Shonibare have been exhibited in rooms of the Nouveau Musee national de Monaco that are rarely open to the public, and which encourage us to explore this part of the Principality's artistic history. Monte Carlo has always been the centre of a lively performing arts scene, and there are several collections that reflect this fact: Visconti's maquettothequeA at the Monte Carlo Opera, Eugene Frey's extraordinary and brightly coloured stage sets, the curious collection of transparent paintings that belonged to the Marquis du Perier du Mouriez, religious boxes from the Galea Collection made by Carmelite monks in Provence, and thousands of other artificialia unearthed in the storerooms. A costume preservation workshop, which will remain open throughout the exhibition, will enable visitors to discover one of the hidden faces of the museum.
Marie-Claude Beaud is director, and Beatrice Blanchy is a curator, at the Nouveau Musee National de Monaco. Nathalie Rosticher Giordano is a former cultural programmer at the Grimaldi Forum.