Halida Boughriet is a French-Algerian artist who explores a broad range of media making performance a central issue of her artistic expression. At the crossroads of aesthetic, political and social concerns, her productions strive to capture and translate tensions made obvious in human relationships and society at a given historical and social context, including the emotions conveyed in individual and collective memory.
Image: " Femme au paon bleu ", from the series Les absents du décor, 2018 / Courtesy of Officine dell'Immagine
Halida Boughriet is a French-Algerian artist who explores a broad range of media making performance a central issue of her artistic expression. At the crossroads of aesthetic, political and social concerns, her productions strive to capture and translate tensions made obvious in human relationships and society at a given historical and social context, including the emotions conveyed in individual and collective memory. The omnipresence of human bodies is an essential aspect of her poetical/experimental work.
Her works has been exhibited in several international Museums such as the Museum of Modern Art of Algiers; the Hood Museum pkI oppose a conscious vision of the urgency to collect and build a memory attached to individuals, face to the inevitable generalization or stereotypes, produced by official History as well as by media information.
Border # 2, 2017 / Courtesy of Officine dell'Immagine (Milan)
In the centre of my artistic speech, combining photography, performance and video are questions of identity and geopolitics related to my native country, Africa but also the overall social and cultural reality today!
AD: What is your main interest as artist? What form of self-consciousness is applicable to the art-making?
HB: I propose a committed look on personal, social and political realities, the relation to a territory, based on how one behaves when belonging to a place, when testing the border, when inheriting from a horizon one has to reinvent. The individual may be at the heart of political conflicts or dealing with invisible struggles, while caught in the ballet of daily moves.
In my work, the landscapes I shoot question the bodies inhabiting them, their strategies to meet otherness, but also I question all that escapes them.
" Femme au paon bleu ", from the series Les absents du décor, 2018 / Courtesy of Officine dell'Immagine
AD: Do you feel that it’s important to convey your own beliefs and opinions within your art? Is there a philosophical element in your work?
HB: Artists are responsible for unearthing the truth. I believe that the artist's role is to be as close to themselves as possible.
“We think we have to change the world. We want the most liberating change from society and life we are locked in. We know that this change is possible through appropriate actions.” Guy Debord - thinker – founder of the “Internationale situationniste”.
“The modern fact, he writes, is that we no longer believe in this world. We do not even believe in the events happening to us, love, death, as if we were half-affected by them. We are not making movies, the world seems like a bad movie to us.” Gilles Deleuze in L’Image-temps.
AD: What are you currently working on? Is there anything in particular that you’d like to get across through your work?
HB: At stakes: policed body/ body on stage/ territory exploration
Traces, fractures and disappearance feed me. I proceed using the mechanics of documentary to functional storytelling. In my contemporary photography, I favour History rereading and adopt strategies of formal diversification. I often prompt the audience to question the frailties, doubts and fears we all live through. I mainly use time deconstruction to display bodies in action during performances. I also use repetition as a tool, which far from being a “never-ending flashback”, or never-ending starting over, is a language as such in addition to being one of the fundamental components of existence.
In 2019, for the first International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Rabat curated by Abdelkader Damani, I will present a video installation named “Implano de Arisana". This work is a video installation whose structure was imagined with Marc Barani. It addresses the issues of identity, territory and border but also representation, staging, the female figure and time. It is composed of six videos, each multiplying points of view thanks to a 360 degrees perspective.
Diner des anonymes, from the series 'Pandora,' 2014 / Courtesy of Officine dell'Immagine
This year, I will also participate in a video installation exhibition of women artists named "No Comment " in Galerii de Artă-Reperaj in Roumania. Also, I am preparing a solo show in my gallery Officine dell'Immagine in Milan with new works/pieces. I am very excited!
AD: What place does creativity have in education ? Do you view yourself as a creator?
HB: I am also an art teacher to youth from the suburbs of Paris. I can tell you that education and creativity are essential for future generations. Creativity is not a genius streak, held by an elite, mainly expressed within the art field. It is the largest ability to ask new questions, to provide new solutions, new visions.
AD: Do you think that by challenging conventional views, art can truly make a change in the public’s perception?
HB: My questioning: how do the relation and confrontation to otherness participate in our own construction?
In my work, I also show this relation artwork/spectator/actor, examining the possible intervention of spectators within the artwork, likely to make them closer to it, but also relying on their presence in front of the artwork I am creating. For me, my performance highlights the artist’s action rather than the medium being used, and consequently, it makes the artwork short-lived, belonging to a specific duration, requiring the spectator’s presence, attention and sometimes participation, which cannot be reproduced.
Cri silencieux, 2016 - Performance - Place des Martyrs, Beirut / Courtesy of Officine dell'Immagine
AD: How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
HB: This is a very difficult question, each moment of my life calls for creation, and my environment is essential in my production. Evolution might be to write a full-length film.
AD: Is sophistication, aesthetic accomplishment in the eye of the beholder?
HB: I build over and over a dramaturgy using cinematographic techniques and strong plastic research.
- Light is another basis: pictures turn to scenes and bodies turn to sculptures.
- In a distanced relation to reality, my pictures convey poetic force, by means of a feeling that time has been suspended, things reversed, movements and patterns repeated over and over.
AD: What do you think is the social role of art? How would you like to be remembered?
HB: Art no longer serves spiritual function, but critical function. I mostly work in that frame - social critique - for it seems to me that the relation to the world has become relations to worlds (plural).
Artists carry social messages, thanks to them and their critical look on society they display through their artworks, they help raising awareness.
Art can be considered as a struggle against some exclusion, but also as a social integration factor.
AD: How does art school form ideas about art? Does it shape people into being certain types of artists?
HB: When I graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris, we were entirely free in terms of choices, desires, protests, thinking… but today, I am wondering on whether there might be some kind of moulding, for the students to fit the current art market.
Mémoire dans l’oubli, 2010 / 2011/ Courtesy of the artist
AD: What do you think about the art world and art market? Do you accept that art is inherently an elitist activity?
HB: Sadly, art for art’s sake is far from being the only motivation in the art market. I sometimes feel people talk more about possession and investment rather than reflection and eye on the artwork. Plus, the constant pressure to produce art is another feature of that booming market. Yet, artists need time for their production and reflection. Those elitist mechanisms are at work, but I do hope the art market will develop new geographies in order for artists from all over the world to be visible and to make art more affordable to a larger audience.
AD: What’s the last great book you read? Any other thoughts/projects to share?
HB: One of the books that marked me the most is "Sarajevo my love/ Sarajevo mon Amour" by Jovan Divjak, an exciting interview that delivers the story of a Serbian who chooses to defend Sarajevo and stay with all those who were attached to a United Bosnia - Muslims, but also Serbs and Croats. He still lives in Sarajevo, which I visited in 2006. A heartbreaking experience and I wish to have an opportunity to come back to this town.
Another book, "The double absence / la double absence" of Abdelmalek Sayad, is an exemplary inquiry of an outstanding sociologist in both France and Algeria; the main theme is about the sociology of emigration and immigration.
Also, I have some important exhibitions this year 2019 and I'm working on a new photographic series to discover soon.
I continue to lead a project, through the story of a woman born in Albania, a country marked by a long period of isolation now aiming to build up its democracy. Yet we see how most residents have experienced the indoctrination and unceasing propaganda of the regime. An artistic approach certainly but especially undeniable historical facts not to forget!
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