Detail Se Dilate

Ismaïl Bahri

Tunis : 07 June 2014 - 31 August 2014

Press Release

At a moment when words are let loose and daring, and a thread of thoughts is thrown- still inhabited as we go by the already initiated process of Dénouement, lingering on by the slow unraveling of the sights yielded by Film, where in fact we should be closer now to Ismail Bahri’s poise in “filming the seeing”, and that we should also be writing…there surge out, well intertwined, both figures of Small Prince and of Rimbaud.

It could have been otherwise. Perhaps. Delicious resonances would have come along with streaks of light like a “kaleidoscope of darkness” perceived from the bed of the writer, in his countryside, at Cambray. Could be elsewhere. In that “ flicker of the epiphanies of the mind” that would allow an approach in beauty and rightness, Percées. Capturing in an instant the porosity of space and the intertwining of matter; where stone melts up in sound. In a single time. In the liminal ordeals, particularly the crossing of phenomenological borders, along the routes of consummate perceptions, and within moments of a singular bet on a possible reordering of things, even though incommensurable; and of an intelligible endorsed by sense.

“Scratches of light”, or else small “breeches, real or fictional” of which Ismail Bahri spoke, would have been among other deaf presences, states perceived, or things seen. In the realm of attempts of restitution, and of whirling and playfully interlocking words. A criss-cross of lace threads laid out in a phrastic expanse run on headlong, then stop in utter fixedness, like an echo along what has been produced and wrought in Latences.

Orientation is in essence a question of manner and meaning. He talks about his hands initiating movements, an effaced gesture coming close to becoming the “hands of a mime”, or nearing “ the order of a caress”. Ismail Bahri works with these hands on these seizure instants and on states of perception. Such dexterity partakes in his art. And that is what his camera is probing. The camera lens is relentless. It captures everything, collects and accumulates in the lapse of a shot sequence. Then Ismail Bahri sets it on the incommensurable, the un-decidable, within the kaleidoscopic limits of light as of the penumbra.

The focal is intent on fixing the thread, in Dénouement, in a frail cutting of space, in that which is the crest of the visibility of fiber, in the tempo of a vibrating quivering tension. This gaze-point operates in a frame beyond its bounds as it encompasses all in the expression of this well bent body (from afar) which is a thread now become mass, a reminiscence of accomplished gestures, but also of this wrought body (in fine in utmost closeness) which is Ismail Bahri’s, at the close of his proceedings, after he learnt how to probe the resistance of matter, of thread, in the temporality of a gesture whose presence intervenes in the lapse of the displacement of the body. Both focal and frame contribute to perfecting his approach to the lens field and outside of it. The seeing machine functions well: Our eyes get accommodated to the fleeting ethereality of an on-going seeing. This is no less than a third body at work.

In Orientations, the lens of the camera plunges into an insubordinate surface. A mechanics conceived to capture the well delineated universe of things, playing with the lenses and unceasingly attempting to correct. The correctives are the outer field of the incommensurable. Porosity is in action: Visual matter blends with sonorous matter…Limits are effaced, and states merge.

Text by Eric Degoutte (Director of Les Eglises centre d’art contemporain)