Exhibition CAAM - Los Balcones 11. Planta 1
Zoulikha Bouabdellah Inverted
Since 27 October 2016 to 8 January 2017
Zoulikha Bouabdellah’s artistic creation enables encounters where others draw a line. Her works, realised as videos, drawings, installations, sculptures or objects, deal with the effects of globalisation and migration. Her poignantly impressive pictures link traditions and serve as a means of criticism at the same time: the criticism of restrictive role models, of constructions of otherness and exclusion, of totalitarian political systems, of expectations and conventions.
Born 1977 in Moscow, Zoulikha Bouabdellah spent her childhood in Algeria and relocated to Paris at the onset of the Civil War. She studied art at École nationale supérieure d’arts de Cergy-Pontoise in Paris from 1997 to 2002. Toward the end of 2010, the artist moved again and now lives in Casablanca.
It is this wide range of experience that forms the background for Zoulikha Bouabdellah to unfold her creative scope and her artistic identity. Over the past two decades, she has been constantly pushing forward her oeuvre, which forms a dynamic texture woven from many different strands of tradition, personal experiences and memories. The artist places special emphasis on the spaces between allegedly antagonistic poles, between different cultures, between the female and the male, the figurative and the abstract, beauty and violence, the visible and the concealed. It is, in fact, a leitmotif of her artistic creation to question the adherence to dichotomous world views and to examine the complexity of relations instead: “There is always a common thread running through ideas, concepts, interpretations and views about the world.”
The challenge of gender roles, social norms and taboos and of their influence on identity formation is a central theme in Zoulikha Bouabdellah’s artistic creation. With a fine sense of subversive humour, she stands up against projections, stereotypes and clichés. She repeatedly avails herself of incunabula from European art history inorder to examine concepts of femininity and to provide re-interpretations. Her works reflect both the imagery of European modernity along with its reception and complex views of ornamentalism and calligraphy as are rooted in the traditional Islamic concept of art. The artist analyses, translates and links the diverse image concepts; she develops and advances them and, in doing so, always explores the worldviews associated with them.
The individual works and groups of works collected under the title Inverted offer insights into an artistic oeuvre that has a sustained effect. Linked to the title is the invitation to approach pictures and facts in a different manner, “invertedly”, as it were, beyond common norms and habits, for: „In a world in which images are omnipresent, I made a series of pieces keeping in mind that the elements that make them up conceal more than they show. It’s the deep meaning of my work, which tries to be persuasive about the fact that things are not shown as they should be, that they tend to be evasive, to elude a single-meaning reading.“
By joining Western pictorial concepts with elements from popular culture and Arabic, Islamic art traditions, Zoulikha Bouandellah creates images of universal validity, which encourage reflections on the present state of the world. The artist prompts us to take a look at diversity without smoothing out the differences and to develop an open perception, which is not only necessary for observing art, but also significant for scrutinizing contemporary societal conditions.
Exhibition title: Inverted
Curator: Katrin Steffen
Dates: 27.10.2016 to 08.01.2017
Place: CAAM - Los Balcones 11. Planta 1
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.