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b. 1978, Algeria

Mohamed Bourouissa Biography

In Mohamed Bourouissa’s (b. 1978, Blida, Algeria) earliest bodies of work—Nous Sommes Halles (We Are Halles, 2003—2005), Périphérique (Peripheral, 2005–2009), Temps mort (Time Out, 2009)—certain tenets of his practice were already in place: rituals of friendship, a focus on alterity and the role images play in channels of distribution, investigations into the politics of representation and subjectivity. Seeking to humanise his community as social subjects, Bourouissa engages all sorts of imagery, initiating agency where is it often deprived—scenes of riots re-enacted by their protagonists, images filmed using a mobile phone smuggled to a prison inmate, or with hidden cameras given to cigarette sellers in Barbès, Paris. Spanning photography, film, drawing, and sculpture, Bourouissa’s work is a hybrid of documentation and formal composition, collaborative choreographed representations of reality on the margins, channeling a wide range of historical precedents from Caravaggio and Delacroix to Fanon, rap music, and the Harlem Renaissance.

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Initially driven to capture his own community and generation of immigrant youth living in the outskirts of Paris, in recent years Bourouissa’s focus has expanded to the US, the UAE, and beyond. In 2014 the artist spent nearly a year in North Philadelphia, PA living among the young men of the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, a non-profit established over 100 years ago by African American cowboys. This area increasingly struggles with unemployment and drug abuse, economic and social conditions from which the center attempts to provide a refuge—rescuing horses and mentoring boys who may otherwise find support hard to come by. Bourouissa instigated a collaboration with the community of riders and local artists—a riding competition and pageant called 'Horse Day' in which equestrian participants arrived clad in decadent regalia, costumes including linked blank CDs, streamers, fake flowers, or fabric Pegasus wings. Using the cowboy as an emblem of a narrative of domination, the critical documents Bourouissa and the Fletcher Street community produced—sculptures, costumes, drawings, photography, and a video mixing tropes of westerns, documentaries and hip-hop—explore social injustice as it relates to geographical space, spotlight contemporary America’s culture of segregation, and intend to forge a new creative space for marginalised groups.

In 2019 for the Sharjah Biennial, Bourouissa introduced a collaborative multimedia installation to an abandoned kindergarten in Kalba, UAE that integrates the architecture of a 1950s psychiatric hospital in Blida, Algeria—the historic site of breakthroughs in ethnopsychiatry by hero of the anti-colonial movement, critical theorist Frantz Fanon. Rooted in an artist residency in Blida in 2014 and a subsequent project for the Liverpool Biennial in 2018, this work is multi-tiered and made in collaboration with the only living former patient of Fanon, Bourlem Mohamed. The work includes a garden for healing and growth with Algerian flora, medicinal herbs, and plants related to the landscapes of the slave trade, as well as community workshops and murals, Montessori-inspired sculptures, and a non-linear film dealing with madness. Presenting a counter-narrative to the conventional intentions of normalisation or homogenisation associated with spaces designated for education and psychiatric rehabilitation, here Bourouissa introduces a blueprint for imagination and emancipation.

Bourouissa lives and works in Paris, France. Recent solo exhibitions include presentations at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (2018); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2018); Musée National Eugène Delacroix, Paris, France (2017); Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA (2017); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2016); Savannah College of Arts and Design, Atlanta, GA (2011); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (2011); FotoRio, Centro Cultural Correios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2009); and the Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland (2009); among many more. His work is represented in notable public collections worldwide including the Burger Collection, Hong Kong, China; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Galerie du Château d’Eau, Toulouse, France; Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France; Fonds National d’art contemporain, France; FRAC Bretagne, Rennes, France; FRAC Franche-Comté, Besançon, France; Fundation Sindika Dokolo; International Art Fund, Grande-Bretagne, France; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Pinault Collection, Paris, France; Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Weng Collection, Krefeld, Germany, among many more. Bourouissa’s work has been commended with numerous prizes including the Nomination for the Prix Pictet, UK; Prix Fondation Blachère, France; Prix Studio Collector, Fondation Antoine de Galbert, France; CNAP–Aide à la première exposition; and First Prize–Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles, France.

Text courtesy Blum & Poe.

Mohamed Bourouissa Featured Artworks

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Palette #2 by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaPalette #2, 2020Watercolour and pencil on paper
16 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Où sont passées les utopies? by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaOù sont passées les utopies?, 2020Silver print on aluminium plate, aluminium frame, rivets, car paint, varnish, and horse blanket
152 x 100 cm
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Untitled by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaUntitled, 2013Lambda print
64.5 x 45 x 2 inches (incl frame)
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
The Phone II by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaThe Phone II, 201958 3/4 x 81 1/2 x 69 3/4 inches Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Caleb on the Horse by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaCaleb on the Horse, 2018105 x 66 x 59 1/2 inches Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Sunset by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaSunset, 2019Silver print on car body parts, rivets, car paint, varnish, digital print on curtain, carabiners, buckles, steel frame
150 x 96 x 7 3/8 inches
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Neighborhood of NY by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaNeighborhood of NY, 2019Silver print on aluminium plate, aluminium frame, rivets, car paint, varnish
69 x 59 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Steeve by Mohamed Bourouissa contemporary artwork
Mohamed BourouissaSteeve, 2019Silver print on aluminium plate, aluminium frame, rivets, car paint, varnish
69 x 59 1/4 x 2 inches
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery

Mohamed Bourouissa Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, 5,471 miles at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Closed
21 July–15 August 2020 Group Exhibition 5,471 miles Blum & PoeLos Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, Mohamed Bourouissa, Pour une poignée de Dollars at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Closed
14 September–26 October 2019 Mohamed Bourouissa Pour une poignée de Dollars Blum & PoeLos Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Reflections on Space and Time at Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo
Closed
1 April–11 May 2019 Group Exhibition Reflections on Space and Time Galeria Nara RoeslerSão Paulo

Mohamed Bourouissa Represented By

Blum & Poe contemporary art gallery in Tokyo, Japan Blum & Poe Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo

Mohamed Bourouissa In Ocula Magazine

Sydney Biennale Connects Here with Everywhere Ocula Feature Sydney Biennale Connects Here with Everywhere By Soo-Min Shim, Sydney

'This year's Biennale of Sydney seems like a corrective,' writes Soo-Min Shim.

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In Ocula Advisory

Advisory Picks: Sotheby's Contemporary Auction Advisory Pick

We select some of the top works up for auction at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening sale on 12 May.

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Sotheby's Contemporary Art Day Auction Advisory Pick

Ocula Advisory selects three highlights from Sotheby's Contemporary Art Day Auction: Online on 18 November 2020\.

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