Yo-Yo Gonthier strives to question the symptomatic erasure of memory in Western cultures; where speed, progress, and technological mnemonics are often valued above all else. Alongside this, the remnants of France’s colonial past is another theme frequently explored in Gonthier’s work, as explored through his project Outre-Mer (overseas), nominated for the Prix Kodak de la Critique in 2005.
Gonthier participated in Bamako Encounters, the African Biennale of Photography in Bamako, Mali, in 2005 and 2009. Since 2011, he has worked on a series of large-scale projects for the public sphere, often incorporating audience participation. Between 2011 and 2013, with the help of 200 volunteers, Gonthier constructed an eight-metre long flying structure, entitled le nuage qui parlait (the cloud that spoke) in Saint-Denis in Île-de-France, France. Filled with helium it was free to drift through Saint-Denis, designed to ‘absorb’ the thoughts of the city’s inhabitants, recording musings throughout its passage.