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Zoulikha Bouabdellah grew up in Algiers and moved to France in 1993. She is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Arts de Cergy-Pontoise in 2002.Read More
Zoulikha Bouabdellah's works -through installation, drawing, video and photography- deal with the effects of globalization and question their depictions with humour and subversion. In 2003, she directed the video Let's Dance (Dansons) in which she confuses the archetypes of French and Algerian cultures by performing a belly dance to the tune of the Marseillaise. The same year, her work featured in Experiments in the Arab Avant-garde at the French Cinémathèque (Paris). In 2005, Zoulikha Bouabdellah participated in the seminal exhibition Africa Remix at Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), and in 2008 in the festival Paradise Now! Essential Avant-Garde French Cinema 1890-2008 at the Tate Modern (London).
Since 2007, Bouabdellah's works focus on letters and words of love, and particularly on the status of women. Made with different materials -paper, acrylic, aluminum, neon, wood- her works act as slogans and forge links between North and South, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, the visible and the untold.
She has exhibited at the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), the Brooklyn Museum (New York), Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation (Vienna), the Museum Kunst Palast (Düsseldorf), the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts (New York), the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha) and the Moderna Museet (Stockholm). She has participated in several biennials and festivals including the Venice Biennale (2007), Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine in Bamako (2003), Thessaloniki Biennial (2011), Turin Triennale (2008) and the Aichi Triennale (2010). Her most recent exhibitions include The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists at National Museum of African Art (USA), at the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum, Savannah (USA); Body Talk: Feminism, Sexuality & Body at the WIELS (Belgium) and at FRAC Lorraine (France); Lucy's Iris at the MUSAC (Spain), at Rochechouart Museum (France) and at CAAM Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno (Spain).
On October 2016 the CAAM Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno (Spain) will host a major individual exhibition by Zoulikha Bouabdellah.
Her work is represented in collections such as Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, France), MUSAC Museum of Contemporary Art (León, Spain), Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha, Qatar), Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation (Vienna, Austria), and Sindika Dokolo Foundation (Luanda, Angola). She has received awards and distinctions including the Abraaj Art Prize (2009), Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art (2008) and Villa Medicis Hors les Murs (2005).
Today, everybody wants to be able to see everything, preaching transparency on worship, so that each one gets the power to be able to satisfy its need to observe and supervise. Under these conditions, the artist has to resist the will of control and classification. He must manage to deviate from this imposed line and to follow a deviation he/she has wanted. Isn't it the artist who inspires to see things differently?In this world where images are everywhere, I led a series of works keeping in mind the elements which hide more than they show. It is the deeper sense of my work, which intends to convince that the things are not given to be seen such as they should be, that they evade and escape one way reading. In other words, they invite to transgress the limits.
My approach consists to push forward boundaries, to create interactions between them. My artistic and conceptual concerns lead me to mix in my work several concepts at the same time. In addition to the concept, I avoid to comply with only one method of formal realization. Things must be done and remade willingly to the social and cultural contexts, in accordance with time and space.
How to make it differently when, as information goes around instantaneously from one part of the world to the other, the question of understanding and meaning becomes an important issue: the issue of power and domination?With regard to my Arab-Muslim origins and the fact of being a woman, I cannot dissociate my work from the question of feminism and cultural belonging. I claim to be a «second sex», a free-thinker sex. The one who knows how to claim and to defy codes and rules of its time and who is constantly balanced between being dominant and being dominated, thus creating a perpetual outlet for new meanings.
Text courtesy Sabrina Amrani Gallery.
Algeria’s long history of colonialism and conquest provides complex narratives and fertile ground for contemporary artists who push the boundaries between tradition and modernity, utilising rich media, techniques and performances.
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