Zoulikha Bouabdellah

6 Jun - 21 Jul 2011

Bouabdellah explains the motivations that prompted her to develop Mirage: "In a few months, history has changed its side. It is now being written in the south, across the Mediterranean, where after Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, civil war in Libya and the rising of Syrian people, the spreading revolution has arrived to Bahrain and Yemen. And, while Morocco launches unprecedented political reforms, Algeria is committed to strengthening the democratic process. ¿How will all this end up? No one can say with certainty", says the artist. Her only certainty at the moment is that, as in every revolutionary process, images will perdure converted into icons. Bouabdellah found her own: "a picture of a Mirage aircraft of the Gaddafi’s Air Force". Shot down in flight by rebel forces, the image showed the aircraft with its beak pointing towards the Libyan soil. "The hit didn’t come to be seen but it is significant and significative: the dictator is no longer invincibile", concludes the artist.


This image, chosen for the Mirage (I, II, III, IV and V) series and for the triptyc “Is your love darling just a mirage?”, "brings us back to the ideals of the revolution". With these pieces, Bouabellah lays down some questions: "Will they inspire the continuation of the story, or agitated as broken promises, will they remain in the state of mirages, as a more or less distorted picture of what was a real ideal? ". In between what is here (the revolution) and what will arrive (the democracy), the artist has found in the military aircraft Mirage a perfect image.


In the exhibition designed for Sabrina Amrani, the idea takes the form of a geometric composition inspired by the Arabic artistic repertoire. As the concepts that underlines the tradition of the tiles, the Mirage artworks teach the unattainable in an experience that exceeds the contemplation and push to interpretations. "Just as the passage of this plane is difficult to discern, due to the physical phenomenon of refraction searched purposely by the builders of the aircraft, the shapes of Mirage combines a series of rhythmic movements that the eye can not see accurately. These are shapes that attract actors and spectators of the history with this lack of certainty that characterizes each revolutionary episode", says Bouabdellah.


The installation Algol is a schematic representation of the constellation of the Perseids. The name Algol comes from the Arabic "Ras al-Ghul", literally the head of the devil. The ancient Greeks saw in this star the eye of Medusa, a creature with the head covered by snakes whose gaze turned to stone anyone who dared challenge it. Composed of flashing and lighted beacons, Algol is a mythological reading of tyranny, a work in progress aimed to design the map of dead stars, of fallen dictators by the wave of change in the Arab world.


The exhibition is completed with Slogan, a deviation of the original meaning of the phrase sung by Umm Kulthum, the Egyptian grand dame of the Arabic song. This cry of a woman, chained for the love and eager to regain her freedom, here becomes a revolutionary slogan, a universal formula for all the oppressed.


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