Untitled is an exhibition organised by Selma Feriani Gallery, whereby the entire artist roster has been invited to feature new or recent artworks. The exhibition aims to celebrate the multitude of practices and approaches that have shaped the gallery programme over the years.
The show will feature 18 emerging and established artists: Ziad Antar, Ismaïl Bahri, Lina Ben Rejeb, Amel Bennys, M’barek Bouchichi, Nidhal Chamekh, Elena Damiani, Rafik El Kamel, Jellel Gasteli, Malek Gnaoui, Pascal Hachem, Farah Khelil, Nicene Kossentini, Maha Malluh, Eva Nielsen, Yazid Oulab, Massinissa Selmani and Catalina Swinburn. Artworks will include drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, film, sound and installation.
Selma Feriani Gallery, Tunis
Ziad Antar (Lebanon, 1978)
Ziad Antar’s The Silo, Beirut 5 August 2020 was captured on the day following the Beirut port explosion of 4 August 2020, which exposed the ongoing political instability and corruption embedded in Lebanon. The airiness of the image evokes images of the civil war, which continues to taint one’s visual perception of the country. The title refers to the catastrophic impact of this explosion, by focusing on the demolished wheat reserve, and the nation having to suffer yet another tragedy.
Ismaïl Bahri (Tunisia, 1978)
Apparition, Ismaïl Bahri’s award winning video, is an attempt to reveal a hidden content. Hands explore a photograph taken on the day of Tunisia’s independence on March 20, 1956,
found in the archive of the artist’s father. Touching is seeing. A claim for the shadow to recover memory.
Lina Ben Rejeb (Tunisia, 1985)
This series of painting Untilted can be seen as a ritual between each exhibition in a time of latency, where Lina Ben Rejeb, resumes her first relationship to painting. In her research the word was the starting point to establish a tension between the visible and the legible. Her relationship to the canvas is similar to her relationship to paper, she applies the acts of writing to the painting simultaneously to render the painting unreadable.
It is a question of deflecting the gestures of the writing, turning it over, reversing it, moving it and duplicating it, and covering and laying a depth that further corrupts the link between visible and legible. This attempt at spatialisation comes from a gesture that generates written form without making sense, suggesting yet another misappropriation of typographic rigour, which further manipulate the relationship between the painting and the text. Oposing the meaning, maintaining only the gesture.
Amel Bennys (Tunisia, 1970)
« Toujours possible - Oui » - 45 peintures sur feuilles d’aluminium de la taille d’une carte postale.
Travaillées à Tunis, ces pièces sont comme une suite de possibilité.
Oui- Possibilité de travailler sur petits formats tout en se projetant sur d’éventuelles grandes peintures.
Possibilité de continuer - simplement continuer.
Mais voilà, le jeu est devenu évident.
Même si cette suite a été réalisé à Tunis, les quelques kilomètres qui séparent mon atelier de la galerie se démultiplient.
231 Third Avenue N.Y. continue de m’attendre. Ma tête,, mes pieds, mon âme sont encore là-bas...
Exilée de ces lieux aimés et choisis, ces 45 petites peintures représentent alors ces multiples aller-retours de voyages dans un imaginaire bien présent.
« Toujours possible - Oui » comme être là, en se trouvant ailleurs.
M’barek Bouhchichi (Morocco, 1975)
Soc d'araire (triptych) by M’barek Bouhchichi, are drawings of a ploughshare, a component of a plough that is used in agriculture to prepare the soil for sowing seeds and planting. Several anthropologists associate the ploughshare with the human foot, specifically in its mechanics. Depicting the tool on both sides, the image presents a hybrid figure: it appears as an organic material such as a plant or an animal, a male or female form; or even human.
Nidhal Chamekh (Tunisia, 1985)
Souffles is part of a series that plays between the boundaries of drawing and video. This mechanism is limited to a number of tools, including paper, air, and graphite powder. The video captures the brief movements of the powder’s trajectory across the paper, creating landscapes on the verge of disappearance.
Elena Damiani (Peru, 1979)
Working during lockdown in conditions of imposed restrictions and resources consequently offered the artist, Elena, Damiani an opportunity to work in an intimate manner comparable to a meditative exercise. The geometrical series of drawings, Tránsitos, reveal gradients of colour that imagine a new cosmology where all elements seem to be choreographed in harmony. Paradoxically her state of confinement is juxtaposed against ideas of mobility presented by the cartographic drawings.
Jellel Gasteli (Tunisia, 1958)
This photograph by Jellel Gasteli was taken from "En Tunisie" a book collaboration with Abdelwaheb Meddeb and Albert Memmi, Eric Koehler editions in 1997. It depicts harvest in the north west of the country.
Pascal Hachem (Lebanon, 1979)
We carry objects and objects carry us: this relationship traces politics.
We believe that we control all our objects and dominating them as if we are the makers and the players of all games.
We refuse to accept that these objects control and seduce our existence,
An object is a man made and yet once created starts carrying emotions and senses that we found ourselves unable to detach from them, to replace them or even to omit their presence from our surroundings.
They seduce us, yet we don’t admit it.
We get attach to them, yet we consider this relation emotion free.
‘Tahara’, A block of soap is not only a cleansing tool, it is one of the oldest seductive material that knows all our secrets, all our intimate body parts, from head to toe. It caresses them over and over again…
It slides over our wet body parts, our sexual organs and always between our hands. The washing gesture can create a fake cleanse of faith, generating new meaning of getting rid of sins.
What if it has a double action between ‘cleaning the soul from religion noise’ and ‘cleaning the soul from all the heavy debt’; washing our hands as if nothing happened.
‘Tahara’ is a way to declare purity…
In these moments with the excess of hand and body washing, our relation with the soap gets deeper and sensual.
‘Lost lust’, show frustration and disappointments.
Stuck at home, stuck isolated in our own world, behind closed doors.
This moment of touching the door handle suddenly becomes an unreachable dream. The door handle that once was taken for granted transforms into an object of desire: this sudden attraction towards it, the urge of wanting to touch it, to move it from an erected to a released state only dictates the mental status of ‘lost lust’ that we all found ourselves in.
‘beirushima’, my little home – my little ticking home bomb – my little sick dream… you’ve left me with a hopeless key, speechless, melted away.
My loneliness is your loneliness …
Farah Khelil (Tunisia, 1980)
Inspired by her ongoing research (since 2012) around the Palmarium of Tunis, and by the plant analogy woven by the dichotomy between the eucalyptus (colonial heritage) and the palm tree (Islamic identity), this project addresses the dialectics of identity and modernity in Tunisia. The artist Farah Khelil examines how to draw a "history" through the botanical prism.
Nicène Kossentini (Tunisia, 1976)
It’s an invisible and a meaningless manifesto written in Arabic only with tashkil (vocalizations) without letters. This decipherable text reflects the difficulty of building new ideas and new notions to change the world.
Maha Malluh (Saoudi Arabia, 1959)
Food is one of those things that brings people together. In this installation, the baking trays, which would have once cradled scrumptious bread, are instead carrying passé cassettes. It is through listening to these audiocassettes that people unite. The Food for Thought tapes' series by Maha Malluh, considers how social transformation has occurred as a result of the wide-spread distribution of certain cassettes, promoting a whole new paradigm of thought and a different way of life. The work speaks to the wider discourse on how ideas can penetrate into a society and become the norm. It is about the fluidity of discourses that can permeate and transgress local borders, circulating into the global sphere.
Eva Nielsen (1983)
These drawings are part of a series by Paris based artist Eva Nielsen, that explore blurred landscapes. The artist explores the surface of the paper through combining techniques and mediums, an alchemical process forms layers of textures that enhance and disrupt certain details of the image.
The viewer can be gazing through a dusty window onto the horizon which is perceived through a mist that positions what is beyond it as both a projection and fantasy. There is a certain obstacle which interrupts ones attempt to fully observe the landscape. This illustrates a sense of confinement allowing the eyes to wander and the mind to project the body outside.
Yazid Oulab (Algeria, 1958)
La relation, séparation
La complémentarité, dualité
Les parallèles, miroir
Le contraire, ressemblance
La différence 1-1= o
Choc, abordage, collision, commotion
Ondes ou particules
Choc ou relations
Crâne à cloche
Bing ou bang
La lettre corde ça corde
Fais chanter la lumière
D’un poème sourd et muet
Bla bla bla
Massinissa Selmani (Algeria, 1980)
The artist Massinissa Selmani’s drawings depict scenarios and explorations observed from his sketchbooks, which play an important role in the evolution of his work. He acknowledges drawing as an extension of thought, it allows him to establish potential explanations, which become manifested in his previous drawings and those yet to come.
The animation, Prétextes, displayed alongside the works on paper, further demonstrates absurd or comic actions which when looped, makes them turn tragic. He often draws in pencil and coloured pencil on paper and employs tracing paper, naturally offering movement to the image through layering materials and combining techniques. These elements are brought together in the exhibition space as installations that create new narratives.
Catalina Swinburn (Chili 1979)
This work seeks to rescue an ancestral ritual of gratitude to water as a vital element for humanity. Caelestis addresses issues around water and the environmental crises, through taking maritime cartography, and navigation charts referring to the suyu whipala structure which she transforms into sensational structures that evoke spiritual objects featured in ceremony and traditions.
The structure was achieved by extracting the pages of historical archival documents, referring to maritime cartography & navigation charts, and weaving them into sculptures, using a method whereby Swinburn cuts the maps and charts in order to assemble them through an effort that requires a certain element of labour, in this repetitive action that resembles a meditative ritual. This unique weaving technique allows the delicate material of paper to acquire durability in the process of it attains a robust structure.
The pattern of the sculpture was inspired by the sacred ruins and textiles of Andean cultures, Caelestis connects the ancestral knowledge and scientific thinking relieving a new poetic line with the ecological movement. It opens a dialogue between conservation and innovation, continuity and transmutation. This artwork brings us closer to our cultural identity and offers an alternative view of the function of art as a vehicle of consciousness by meeting various forms of knowledge. It is essential to put ourselves at the forefront of adaptation to climate change that seeks sustainability principles, many of which are present in indigenous knowledge about landscapes and their productivity.
As such, Caelestis promotes environmental and cultural values that allow social and economic development in the territory and beyond. The world’s oceans have a fundamental impact on the planet. They regulate the climate, produce 70% of the world’s oxygen, define communities and economies and offer us innumerable mental and physical benefits.