The Mosaic Rooms in London and aria (artist residency in Algiers), are pleased to present Intervening Space: From The Intimate To The World. This is the first London group show of six contemporary Algerian artists, featuring newly-commissioned and reimagined works from Fayçal Baghriche, Amina Menia, Atef Berredjem, Hanan Benammar, Massinissa Selmani and Sadek Rahim.
Working in a range of media, their work explores interstices in time and space. Using space as a fundamental frame for human experience, they reflect upon transitional places, empty spaces and intermediary zones. By inhabiting these in-betweens, the artists harness liminal space in their articulation of that which echoes between the invisible and visible, the private and the public, the intimate and the immense.
In Enclosed #0 (2013), Amina Menia has ‘tried to underline discreet realities, highlight unseen details, [to] create links where dots were left’. The centre of Algiers hosts a dominant memorial, the Monument to the Dead, made by French sculptor Paul Landowski in 1928 but enclosed in a sarcophagus by Algerian artist M’hamed Issiakhem in the 1970s. With cracks now appearing in its outer shell, revealing the sculpture beneath, Menia’s work studies intervening spaces as fissures which disrupt notions of common history and heritage in Algeria’s post-independence period.
Engaging with the idea of imperfection, Hanan Benammar questions the transitional state of objects seemingly at the end of their life, which originate from specific places in Algeria. In the newly commissioned Prenons un air degagé: We already had no history (2014), the artist develops an object-based sound installation which recounts and performs possible and plausible fictional narratives from Benammar’s biography.
If interstices can be disrupted, they can introduce doubt. Bridging reason and imagination, Fayçal Baghriche’s installation attempts to enact spatially the saying ‘Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear’. Bagriche is interested in the space between empiricism and scepticism, and Half of What You See (2010) invites the viewer to reflect upon this through the medium of light and shadow.
Sadek Rahim will be in residence at The Mosaic Rooms for one month to develop a new site-specific work. Rahim’s work often intervenes in space, working site specifically to draw attention to liminal elements and invest with emotional affect. For this piece, the artist will explore the fine line which separates private from public, the outside world from the domestic interior.
With urban expansion, interstitial space has proliferated in an increasingly fragmented public realm. In his work, Massinissa Selmani addresses modes of appropriation of urban non-space. The overcrowded neighbourhood of Diar Echems in the heart of Algiers is known for the riots that erupted in protest against squalid housing conditions. In his installation Maisons du soleil (2013-2014), Massinissa considers the subsequent development of a slum on the site of an adjacent football pitch, and the new social and spatial order this created.
In the work of Atef Berredjem, time, perception, and the constructions of possible realities are explored through gestures and language. In his new video installation commissioned last year by aria and curated by London-based curator Nora Razian, he explores the often subtle manifestations of power in daily life and its related banal forms of control and administration. In ‘Continuum’, the artist makes visible the rituals of administration of the public sphere and the forms of resistance that arise.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events, which will focus on showcasing contemporary Algerian culture and raising further discussion on the issues highlighted in the exhibition.