Emna Masmoudi

  • Biography

    Born in 1964 in Mahdia, Tunisia, Emna Masmoudi belongs to that generation of women artists who emerged on the Tunisian scene in the 90’s. A graduate of Fine Arts in Paris and holding a Master of Visual Arts, she pursues her training as an artist in residence at the Cité des Arts of Paris. Swiftly, her work reached a wide audience. Her very first exhibitions in Tunisia moved her from a local success to a presence abroad. She has been participating in exhibitions in Europe, the United States, the Middle East ... She won the first prize of painting from the Tunisian Ministry of Culture in 2003. With Elmarsa gallery, she has been represented in many international contemporary art fairs and her paintings have been included to prestigious public and private collections worldwide.

    Hovering between abstraction and figuration, her pictorial work mirrors a unique look that rubs out the stylistic boundaries to open a new dimension. Her figures emerge from the matter in levity. The creative impulse in Emna Masmoudi’s is autobiographical. It is a life story, a feeling to an event that she transcribes into her art. Her carved characters are a reminiscence of Giacometti, especially coming to threadlike characters, small expressive heads on never-ending legs. Further, her interest about Germaine Richier reads in the way to assume the metal structure of the sculpture so that it becomes an integral part thereof. She does not try to hide the skeleton, but rather uses the plastic and graphic dimensions of the wiring to play on materials.

    Through her paintings, drawings and sculptures, we immerse into the plastic realm of Emna Masmoudi. Her artistic approach appeals to time, to reminiscence. Softly, every gesture graphs the imprint of the moment on canvas. In her sculptures, everyday driftwood or iron objects are collected and assembled. Under the hands of the artist, they adopt a new identity and tale a novel story. Rust witnesses the crossing time, both its color and texture endow it with a plastic interest. She works in cycles, within series whose recurring themes loop back like a refrain and spread out.

    The wire is the structure to her sculptures, feathery and spirited, while echoing the line of her drawings, vibrant and intense. This wire is a boundary in space, one that delimits the here and the elsewhere. It further embodies the time being ceased at that moment according to which there will be a before and an after - An impalpable widespread border that escapes to reach. In a hint, Emna Masmoudi gives records of her feelings regarding her country in transition.

    The prime sealed Grenades suddenly explode in a burst of juice soaked seeds. The thick peel blows out under the power of inner turmoil. A new freedom is coming.

    Follows the overflow of joy and trance, Stambali narrates the after instant through this cathartic state that frees the body and the mind - The frenzy of a timeless moment, in levity. Of a great musicality, this series rhymes the incantatory rhythm of mystical rituals and purifiers.

    And time slips slowly. Fading jasmine, a long way medina, or even marabous, all positioned behind the barbed wire. The need to protect those cherished places while recalling the frailty of a moment where anything can still tumble.

    This Funambule, naked and vulnerable, struggles to remain staid over this wire. A parlous equilibrium, but an opposing force to gravity. It is never a matter of falling, he resists, he is there.

    Ultimately, the woman, A la croisée des chemins, who wonders which way to go by now. The Vélocipède, this yesteryear bicycle whispers to her to be wary of a return to the past.

    On the wire ... recounts all these stories, like this Œil witness to the passing of time. As an incentive to learn from yesterday to better apprehend tomorrow. This very personal exhibition of Emna Masmoudi tells us, primarily, about herself with a tremendous love for her characters. They do not fall down; they struggle with strength and unyielding hope. All of which sprinkled by wit. After leaving Emna Masmoudi’s universe, we find, smiling, the wire of time a little lighter...



    1998-99 Residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris

    (Bursary of the Ministry for the Culture in Tunisia)

    1993 Master of Visual Arts Université Paris VIII

    Subject: “Mémoires et Traces”

    1991 Degree in Visual Arts Université Paris VIII

    1989 Diplôme Supérieur National of the Beaux Arts in Paris


    2004 1st Prize of Painting, Ministry for the Culture in Tunisia


    2016 ‘Yesterday is tomorrow’s memory: a group show of work from North Africa’, Elmarsa gallery, Dubai, UAE

    2013 On the wire, Sur Le Fil, Elmarsa gallery, Tunis

    2007 1st DIFC-Gulf Art Fair, Dubai – Represented by Elmarsa gallery

    2007 Le Printemps des Arts, Elmarsa gallery, Tunis

    2006 Elmarsa gallery, Tunis

    2006 Voyage, Paris 10ème

    2006 Biennale Méditerranée "foam”

    2006 Biennale Méditerranée "earth"

    2005 “Tunisian women and art” UNESCO and IMA-Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

    2005 Galerie Vivienne, Paris

    2004 Elmarsa gallery, Tunis

    2002 La chapelle en Serval (Senlis), France

    2001 Galerie Ammar Farhat, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis

    2001 Kunst Company (Ireland)

    2000 Espace Il Teatro, Tunis

    1999 Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris

    1997 Elmarsa gallery, Tunis

    1997 Dix Années de Jeune Peinture Tunisienne

    1997 International Biennal of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

    1997 Galerie Ammar Farhat, Sidi Bou Saïd, Tunis

    1997 Espace Vanessa Zucker, London

    1997 Bari, Italy, Washington, Switzerland

    1996 Espace Ressort de la Créativité, Paris

    1996 “Touches et Traces” Acropolium in Carthage, Tunisia

    1996 Galerie Yahia, Tunis

    1996 Espace Reuilly, Paris/Mairie du 18ème arrondissement, Paris

    1995 Galerie Driba, La Marsa, Tunis

    1994 Galerie Driba, La Marsa, Tunis

    1994 2nd Salon d’Automne de La Marsa, Galerie Driba, Tunis

    1993 1st Salon d’Automne de La Marsa, Galerie Driba, Tunis

    1991-1993 Exhibition with the Association “Ya Bon’art”, Paris

    1989 Centre d’Animation Culturelle, rue Curiel, Paris


    Ministry for Culture in Tunisia

    Ministry for Culture in the UAE

    TCA- Tourism and Culture Authority of Abu Dhabi

    Utic Corporation, Tunis

    Loukil Group, Tunis

    Al Nahyan Royal Family of Abu Dhabi

    Farjam Collection, Dubai