Survivances #3, 2014
Graphite and glue on paper
65 x 50 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Caroline Pagès Gallery, Lisbon
October 11 - December 6, 2014
Born in Constantine (Algeria) in 1958, Yazid Oulab lives and works in Marseille, France. He opened the new FRAC PACA with a solo show curated by Pascal Neveux during Marseille-European Capital of Culture in 2013, and recently participated in the 2014 Busan Biennale (South Korea) curated by Olivier Kaeppelin. Survivances is his first solo show at the Caroline Pagès Gallery and in Portugal. The exhibition will display graphite drawings and objects made with barbwire, nails, rock crystal, bamboo, and graphite.
“From the West, I have inherited form, from the East, the word.” Yazid Oulab
The works of Yazid Oulab are, for the most part, autobiographical and rich in a multiplicity of meanings: they bear witness to contemporary artistic practice and a spiritual path nourished by the heritage and symbolism of Sufi philosophy. However, Sufism is only one aspect of Oulab’s formal vocabulary. His work brings up the subtlety of paradox: born to a labourer father and an intellectual mother, Oulab defines himself as the result of them both, referencing and complementing manual labour and intellectual reflection while borrowing from religious imagery.
Clou and Alif represent the cornerstone of Yazid Oulab’s work. In 2006, he began developing the theme of the nail, which has many meanings, depending on the time and place of its use: it was once a form of currency, it is an important architectural tool, and it is also a reference to writing, since it was used in Mesopotamia for the cuneiform script. Far from being a spiritual equivalent of the stylite tower, this nail refers to building labours Maghreb immigrants undertook in France; something the artist has done himself when he arrived in Europe.
The Stylites urbains drawings are dedicated to the ascetics, who were exiled to the top of pillars in order to gaze at the work of God. The verticality of this structure reminds us of the written forms of the first word that the Divine revealed to the Prophet, the letter “Alif”, the first syllable in Arabic of the word “read, learn”. As three-dimensional Alifs, the rock crystal or graphite nails presented here embody this divine force descending from heaven to dictate God’s word and educate mankind. The word being that which elevates, the artist’s figures of speech take the form of chains, ladders and scaffoldings.
Yazid Oulab (DZ/FR) graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Algiers in 1985, and afterwards studied at the école des Beaux-Arts in Marseille. In 2009 he was invited for an artist residency at the Atelier Calder in Saché, Touraine.
He has exhibited on both sides of the Mediterranean and worldwide. He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions at institutions such as the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), The Grand Palais (Paris), the Musée des Abattoirs (Toulouse), the FRAC Lorraine and Picardie, the Château de Servières in Marseille, Haus der Kunst in Munich, the MUDAM (Luxembourg), the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid and the MNAC (Bucharest) among many others.
Some of his solo exhibitions include Noyau cosmique (2013), Eric Dupont Gallery, Paris; Yazid Oulab (2013), curated by Pascal Neveux, FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, L’ère du graphite (2012) and L’âge du graphite (2011), Eric Dupont Gallery, Paris; Tailler la montagne, ESAC, Pau, France; Atelier Calder, Saché, France, Maison Max Ernst, Huismes, and Le lien, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Saint-Restitut, France in 2009.
His work is represented in many public collections including the Musée National d’Art Moderne (MNAM)- Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris ; the FRAC Picardie, Amiens, France; the city of Marseille, France and Les Abattoirs Museum, Toulouse, France as well as the Fondation Musée d’Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean in Luxemburg.
Caroline Pagès Gallery
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Caroline Pagès Gallery
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