Walk the streets of the Casbah

October 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sketches of Algiers 1, a new site-specific installation by Algerian artist Amina Menia at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (Somerset House, London, 15th-20th October 2013). In this immersive installation, viewers are invited to walk the sloping streets of the historic Casbah and the picturesque alleys of this emblematic neighbourhood in the city of Algiers. By deconstructing the cinematic codes used by filmmaker Julien Duvivier in the studios of legendary film noir Pépé le Moko, Menia’s settings, mise-en-scène, lighting and props offer a fictional visit, uncovering little-known aspects of this unique architectural vernacular. The piece also points at the conventions developed by colonial cinema and confront what was once the native neighbourhood of French colonial Algiers with its now-threatened heritage.

Amina Menia, Sketches of Algiers 1, 2013. Sketch on still from the film Pépé le Moko, Julien Duvivier, 1937 © Amina Menia

Amina Menia, Sketches of Algiers 1, 2013. Sketch on still from the film Pépé le Moko, Julien Duvivier, 1937 © Amina Menia

Sketches of Algiers 1 was commissioned by aria and curated by curator Yasmina Reggad.

About artist Amina Menia
Amina Menia lives and works in Algiers. Her work questions the relationship between architectural and historical spaces, and challenges conventional notions around the exhibition space. Her artworks are a crossover of sculpture and installation, triggering interaction from onlookers with socio-spatial configurations. Amina has showed her work both nationally and internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art in Algiers, Cornerhouse in Manchester, Museum of Contemporary Art in Leon, Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, National Museum of Carthage in Tunis, Sharjah Bienniale in the UAE and Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseille.

About aria (artist residency in algiers)
aria was founded by artist Zineb Sedira in 2011. aria strives to develop cross-border dialogues as well as expanding a dynamic network across diverse international art communities within and beyond Algeria. Through residency, commissioning and exhibitions programmes, aria provides opportunities for emerging and established artists from North Africa and across the world to conduct artistic and cultural research and production. aria collaborates and partners with other institutions and exhibition spaces to give more exposure to Algerian artists and to project a positive awareness and visibility of Algeria and its surroundings to global audiences.

>> Version française

aria (artist residency in algiers) présente Sketches of Algiers 1 de l’artiste Amina Menia, sous le commissariat de Yasmina Reggad.

Promenez-vous dans les rues de la Casbah avec l’artiste Amina Menia à l’occasion de sa première exposition personnelle à Londres à la 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (Somerset House, Londres, 15-20 Octobre). Cette installation in situ plonge le spectateur dans les ruelles escarpées et sinueuses de la Casbah historique, et nous invite à marcher dans les allées pittoresques de ce quartier emblématique de la ville d’Alger. En déconstruisant les codes cinématographiques utilisés en studio par le réalisateur Julien Duvivier dans le légendaire film noir Pépé le Moko, à leur tour, les décors, mise en scène, lumière et accessoires de Menia nous offrent une visite fictive, dévoilant ainsi des aspects méconnus de cette architecture vernaculaire algérienne. Cette oeuvre met également en lumière les conventions développées par le cinéma colonial et confronte le passé de ce qui fut le quartier autochtone de l’Algérie française coloniale avec le présent de ce patrimoine menacé.



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