Mohamed Bourouissa works to create collective stories that draw on the roots of bitterness

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Mohamed Bourouissa works to create collective stories that draw on the roots of bitterness
Cover of Mohamed Bourouissa's 2023 monograph.

PARIS.- The imprisonment of bodies and the restriction of thought, the representation of identities, the determination and the control of language, forms of care based on plants, music, and color, informal economies, alienation and resistance: these are some of the intimate experiences from which Mohamed Bourouissa works in order to create collective stories that draw on the roots of bitterness (seum in Arabic).

This first retrospective in a national institution will offer an opportunity to discover the work of this artist from his very beginnings to his most recent production, alongside creations by artists to whom he is close, and across jumps in time that eschew the norms of chronological order and exhaustivity. Since our world is, for Bourouissa, a small one, the exhibition brings together several different geographies: his home town of Blida, Algeria, where the psychiatrist and writer Frantz Fanon developed an analysis of mental alienation amidst colonial domination; Gennevilliers, where Bourouissa now lives and is active as a member of the local community; the sky over Gaza.

Driven by a logic of the disparate, Bourouissa stretches languages and twists references, forms, and aesthetics both personal and collective to provoke splits, reversals, and tensions, creating a third place between a haunted garden and a living organism that is at once shaped and unsettled by trouble. The exhibition is conceived as a score made up of sounds, drawings, photographs, films, sculptures, watercolors, plants, experimental music, and collective energies. From cries to silence by way of the murmurs of the ghosts of colonialism, it confronts us with a singular and sharply attuned atmospheric frequency of the sensitive, and constitutes an attempt at escaping from those things that poison and intoxicate us.

Alongside Bourouissa, the exhibition features work by Christelle Oyiri, Ibrahim Meïté Sikely, Neïla Czermak Ichti, Abdelmajid Mehdi, Collectif Hawaf, and LILA.

Mohamed Bourouissa

This monograph was published on the occasion of Mohamed Bourouissa's exhibitions Attracteur étrange at LaM, Villeneuve-d'Ascq; and Signal at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. This publication, presenting archives alongside fundamental artworks, attempts to define a "Mohamed Bourouissa method" that consists of reworking the artworks from their first presentation to new exhibition projects and highlights the importance of drawing within his practice, which has so far gone unmeasured. With texts by Alice Cherki, Olivier Marboeuf, Marie-Amélie Senot, Erik Verhagen, and an interview conducted by Hugo Vitrani.

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Mohamed Bourouissa: Signal
February 16–June 30, 2024
Curated by Hugo Vitrani

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