Text by Madeline McLean
© Copyright Visual Artbeat
New Collections : Nicène Kossentini
Reprinted portraits of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmothers, all of which are adapted from antiquated photographs found in family albums, are set upon a backdrop of a dessicated salt lake found in her natal city of Sfax, Tunisia. The artist created the sense of limbo where both image and time are suspended and the line that delineates past and present is vacant. Invoked by the negative space of the deceased, Kossentini explores nascent experiences of loneliness and present notions of loss with both the imagery of her home-place and her family.
Kossentini not only evokes her home – which she describes as ‘secret gardens’ – but also evokes the secret gardens that may reside in each one of us. This metaphorical conception of space – a mental space that is neither fictional nor real – invites the spectator to plunge into an indecisive world between presence and absence, between forgetting and remembering. The incomprehensible horizon of calligraphy – with neither beginning nor end, punctuation nor meaning – represents a historical cultural lineage that, to the artists, is a skeleton of both matter and nothingness.