Take the particular to reflect on the whole. Turn to a droplet of water on the skin and draw attention to the time that surrounds us. Take it as a listening tool that reveals and expands the pulsating life force in order to, in the end, make explicit the desire for an organic rhythm, averse to the agitation of the contemporary world and life in the great metropolis. This is the north of Ligne [Line], a work that synthesizes and opens Instruments, exhibition of the Franco-Tunisian Ismaïl Bahri that the Espaço Cultural Porto Seguro receives between 22 of May and 22 of July.
Signed by Marie Bertran, independent curator, and Marta Gili, director of Jeu de Paume, Paris, the exhibition brings together nine video installations of the visual artist, most of them presented at the Paris Contemporary Art Center between June and September of 2017. In São Paulo, the show - the artist's first solo show in Latin America - is curated by Expomus Exhibitions, Museums, Projetos Culturais Ltda.
The videos of the exhibition turn to movements and simple elements: the vein pulsates, the line separates, the hand kneads, the wind blows, the fire burns. Water, paper and ink are transformed from objects to protagonists. "In most of Ismaïl Bahri's works, the instruments act as a means of intersection between the physical world and the world of ideas, subtly releasing a series of hypotheses whose verdicts seem to be indefinitely postponed," says Marta Gili.
The works are strengthened by the plot established between them - dialogues about themes such as memory, territory, belonging and involvement, always through the exploration of a personal affective cartography. The sobriety of the exhibition surprises the interlocutor and may cause some estrangement. "One of the strengths of his work is that he holds the attention. The eye searches for clues or signs and strives to find a way to understand the image, sees it as a puzzle to be solved, "says Marie Bertran.
Often tenuous and ephemeral, the phenomena observed under the lens of Ismaïl compel us to adjust our perception and the range of our eyes. The absence of sound in many of the works reinforces the density of the whole: they lead the visitor to an inner journey, for the recognition of himself and of everyone in an apparently banal action.
"I value in my work the quest for simplicity. The challenge is precisely to find a way to expose a personal issue to address a problem that belongs to everyone, "says the artist. In this endeavor, Ismaïl is prepared to investigate, strenuously, objects, scales, angles and languages.
Throughout the works, the artist travels a growing path: the plane, which at first focuses on a drop of no more than two, three millimeters, widens until it understands an entire landscape within the limits of projection. The same occurs with content, material and more figurative at first, fluid and more abstract at the end.
About the Artist
Ismaïl Bahri was born in 1978 in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. He currently lives and works between his hometown and the French Paris and Lyon. Video occupies an important place in his work, although the artist also creates drawings, photographs and installations. His work turns to simple elements of daily life, on which he develops processes and assigns universal questions.
He participated in the 13 Biennial of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, and exhibited in cultural institutions such as the Center of Contemporary Art La Criée in Rennes; at Jeu de Paume in Paris; Les Eglises in Chelles; and the German Staatliche Kunsthalle Museum in Karlsruhe.
His videos have already been shown at international film festivals in Toronto, New York, Rotterdam and Marseille; and the work White Background was part of the exhibition Levantes, by Georges Didi-Huberman, at Sesc Pinheiros (2017). His works have deep relations with the work of artists such as Chilean Alfredo Jaar (with whom he shared a table at the opening of Paris Photo in 2017), Albanian Anri Sala, Belgian Francis Alÿs or Brazilian Jonathas de Andrade, with whom he participated in the Sarjah Biennial (2013).
By 22 in July
From Tuesday to Saturday, from 10h to 19h; Sundays and holidays, from 10h to 17h