APRIL 28 - FEBRUARY 29 2024

Fondation H is dedicating its inaugural exhibition to Zoarinivo Razakaratrimo, known as Madame Zo (1956 - 2020), an icon of the Malagasy art scene. Madame Zo dedicated her life to the art of weaving, an ancestral tradition still alive in Madagascar, where lamba, a wild silk or cotton fabric, accompanies every moment of life, from birth to death.

The artist drew the essence of her work, first through design and fashion objects and then transcended the rules of this strongly codified art. By making her technique extremely complex and freeing herself from the limitations of material or format, she developed her own artistic language.

Madame Zo’s weavings have unusual shapes and sizes thanks to the looms she made herself. They integrate several hundred materials such as newsprint, magnetic tapes, electronic components, copper, bones, medicinal plants, industrial foam, rubber, wood chips or perishable foods... They form an important corpus of abstract works whose meshes enclose significant details and language games that seem like an enigma to be deciphered, revealing a vision of Malagasy society and a poetic and engaging reading of the world.

For its inaugural exhibition, Bientôt je vous tisse tous [Soon I will weave you all], Fondation H invited exhibition curators Bérénice Saliou (Director, Documents d’Artistes, Reunion Island) and Prof. Dr. Bonaventure Soh BejengNdikung (Founder, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, and Director, Haus der Kulturender Welt, Berlin) to delve into the work of Zoarinivo Razakaratrimo, known as Madame Zo, icon of the malagasy art scene (1956-2020).


Spaceshifting and spacemakingin Madame Zo’s weaving practice
by Prof. Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

To deliberate on the work of Madame Zo is to marvel at and unravel these universes woven by Madame Zo into a pluriverse, which the Zapatistas are known to have described as a world in which many worlds fit. The worlds that fit in Madame Zo’s pluriverse are made of threads of technologies, stories, medicines, tapes, woods and other found objects in her quotidian. Each thread is spun from the artist’s silent but deep encounter with the environment, with the people that surround her, with the impulses she gets from the cosmos.

To deliberate on the work of Madame Zo is to be deliberate in pushing the boundaries of what art can or must be. It is to be deliberate about blurring the boundary between craft and art, or indeed completely tearing down whatever threshold society has created to separate art from craft, and honestly it is to be deliberate about weaving art and craft into a sophisticated mesh. It is to be deliberate in practicing narration through abstraction and continuing in the building of a genealogy of abstraction as a fundamental part of artistic expression and language at large within the African world.

To deliberate on the work of Madame Zo is to engage with art and an artist that is liberated. Liberated from the constraints of materiality: that is why she could weave with copper and wood, with bread and grass, with everything that crossed her path. Liberated from the constraints of subject matter: that is why she could touch on questions of nature, of totems, of texts, of physics, of medicine, of art history, of cinema, of listening, of story telling, of astrophysics, of spirituality, of politics, of personal search, of culture and of much more in her work without even labelling or sloganising these themes. (…)

This exhibition “Bientôt je vous tisse tous” can be seen asa retrospective because it brings together over 90 works of Madame Zo produced in different phases of her practice as an artist and artisan and spanning several decades. But this offering can also be understood as a retrospection,which is to say a possibility of looking back at Madame Zo’s work, and engaging in a possibility of (re-)contextualising and (re-)situating the work.

To look is not to see.

In researching on Madame Zo’s work one might have the impression that many have looked at her work, but very few have seen her work. Seeing as in experiencing the work. Seeing as in doing an “Auseinadersetzung”with the work. Her work can obviously be read from the surface, but like with every poetic practice, it demands for the beholder to spend time with it. It calls for the viewer to engage all their senses in experiencing the work. It asks for us to dig deep, to unearth, to rummage at the crux — indeed it calls for profundity. “Bientôt je vous tisse tous” will be an exhibition that holds space and invites people to engage with the practices and philosophies the Madame Zo cultivated over several decades. (…)

It wouldn’t be a hyperbole to state that Madame Zo is a writer, a narrator, a story teller, an orator. In her practice is grounded the notion of what Haitians call oraliture: a way of telling not restricted to the written script but employing other scripts like weaving, orality, and otherwise. (…)

The exhibition “Bientôt je vous tisse tous” takes its title from the last letter Madame Zo sent to the Fondation H’s director Hassanein Hiridjee and the jury of the Prix Paritana when she was accorded the prize. The title speaks of a social weaving and social healing that were integral parts ofher work. That people from different disciplines, geographies, concerns come together to weave together the art works of Madame Zo in an exhibition, to spin a public programme in her honour, to host a residency of artists around her practice, or just to deliberate on her work as a craftsperson and artist, as a philosopher and healer is a manifestation of what she wrote: “Bientôt je vous tisse tous.”

“Bientôt je vous tisse tous” is almost a promise of the supernatural, or a hint of the transition she was about to make to the greater beyond. A migration to that only place where one has the possibility of weaving all of us.

“Bientôt je vous tisse tous” is an exhibition that tries toshed light on the plenitude of tracjectories that Madame Zo explored in her life time and passes down to us all. The trajectories include but care not limited to her interests in art history; her exploration of the depths of the black hole; her narrations using the film tapes as material in what she called Cinetiss; her geometric, oblong, and abstract constellations; her interest in gender questions; her engagement with light phenomena; her quest and questioning of nature; her translation languages, narrations (oraliture), writings (literature) into textiles; her imaginations of landscapes; her personal and societal inquiries, her cogitations of materiality and physicality of objects; her pursuit of a deeper understanding of spirituality beyond religion; her investigations in the realm of technologies, and her embarking on a never ending transition. “Bientôt je vous tisse tous” is an effort to understand spacemaking and shapeshifting in Madame Zo’s (Razakaratrimo Zoarinivo) weaving practice.


A scientific committee was set up by Fondation H as part ofthe inaugural exhibition to accompany the curators in their research on Madame Zo’s works. These personalities were chosen for their expertise in the malagasy art scene and local context, as well as for their long, even decades-long, friendly and professional ties to Madame Zo.

The Scientific Committee of the exhibition Bientôt je vous tisse tous [Soon I will weave you all] is composed of:
• Hemerson Andrianetrazafy, Visual artist, Art historian, Fellow of the Académie Malgache, section Arts et Lettres;
• Sarah Fee, PhD, Senior curator, World Cultures, Textiles and Costumes at the Royal Ontario Museum, Research Professor of history and textile traditions of Madagascar;
• Bako Nirina Rasoarifetra, Lecturer, Research Professor of Archaeology, Museology and Heritage, Institut de Civilisations, Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie, University of Antananarivo, Fellow of the Académie Malgache;
• Misa Ratrimoharinino, Weaver, Son and Estate owner of Madame Zo.



Bérénice Saliou is an exhibition curator and AICA member. From 2022, she is director of the organisation Documents d’Artistes La Réunion in order to help promote artists from overseas and more broadly from the Indian Ocean. From 2015 to 2022, she acted as Artistic Director of the Institute of Islamic Cultures (ICI), a cultural establishment in Paris, France. By curating exhibitions, producing works of art and projects - including in public spaces -and organising multidisciplinary events, she helps to make non-Western artistic scenes more visible in Europe, where they tend to be underrepresented. In 2010,along with artist Younès Rahmoun, she co-founded the artist residency Trankat in the medina of Tetouan (Morocco). She was head of the project until 2015. Shehas a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Provence, a Masters in Cultural Professions from the University of Lille 3, and an MFA Curating from Goldsmiths College in London. During her career, she has notably supported the creation of artworks by Bertille Bak, Sabrina Belouaar, Tarek Benaoum, Yane Cavlovski,Jordi Colomer, gethan&myles, Chourouk Hriech, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou, Katia Kameli, Smail Kanouté, Hervé Yamguen and Hervé Youmbi, Salifou Lindou, Maryanto, Randa Maroufi, Ruangrupa, Josefa Ntjam, Sara Ouhaddou, Moussa Sarr, Laetitia Tura, Hossein Valamanesh.


Pr. Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung is a curator, author and biotechnologist. He is founder of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and is the artistic director of Sonsbeek20–24, a quadrennial contemporary art exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands. He is artistic director of the 13th Bamako Encounters 2022, a biennale for African photography in Mali. From January 2023he took on the role of Director at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin. Ndikung was the curator-at-large for Adam Szymczyk’s Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany, in 2017; a guest curator of the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, Senegal, in 2018; as well as artistic director of the 12th Bamako Encounters in 2019. Together with the Miracle Workers Collective, he curated the Finland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019. He was a recipient of the first OCAD University International Curators Residency fellowship in Toronto in2020 and is currently a professor in the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin.

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