Born in 1994, Jean-Samuel N’Sengi is a Belgian artist based in Brussels. Working with performance, photography and video, he explores multiple identities and gender incarnations, relations with our own body and that of others’ within dynamics and mechanisms of tension, power and violence. Jean-Samuel N’Sengi puts us in the position of spectators. A frontal relationship occurs through precise staging sometimes dominated by the audience looking at something or someone; and sometimes by the artist himself who reflects the gaze like a mirror. By embodying Esther, a female character and alter ego with occult powers, Jean-Samuel plays with notions of seduction and manipulation revealing the bad nature that defines us. The gaze as an instrument of domination exists within these mechanisms of power. The subject feels observed and reduced to his body, to what he appears and what he tries to mask. How do we look ? What do we portray to others ? This is what the artist reveals through his selfie series Damu Yangu, Mutoto Yangu, 2019. These questions are crystallized in social media where Jean-Samuel produces various forms. This virtual window through which we gaze and we are observed builds a disparate version of ourselves, one that is controlled more easily. Behind the screen we dissimulate some aspects of our personality, trying to either protect or ditch them.
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