Q&A with Katia Kameli
Throughout the run of the show, Angélique Buisson will be inviting a number of people from a range of backgrounds (artists, critics, historians, etc.) to talk with her about some of the issues raised by the project, including the politics of memory, the question of documents and archives, and art making as an undertaking with others. These conversations will take place without an audience present but will be documented (sound recording, text and/or photography), and the documents will then be posted on the CAC Brétigny website. With among others Katia Kameli, Estelle Nabeyrat, and Anne-Lou Vicente...
“Far from the logic of identity that understands the world in terms of disjunction, my work is grounded in my own experience and my plural identity. It is protean and expresses an in-between state, the intermediary place where the sign of belonging is rejected in favor of multiplicity in order to thwart latent dualism and get beyond ‘either/or’: either Algerian or French.
“According to one of the founding fathers of Cultural Studies, Stuart Hall, ‘cultural identity is not frozen; it is hybrid and always derives from particular historical circumstances.’ My position then is that of hybridity, the ‘third-space,’ which makes the emergence of other outlooks, positions and forms possible. This third space upsets the stories making it up because it puts them in a critical state, enabling a back-and-forth connection between history and narratives. In English, of course, history and story share the same etymology. The former defines the discipline, the one that involves the memory of human beings; the latter means a narrative or tale, whether real or imaginary.
“These crossroads and crossbreeds form the basis of my work and generate interdisciplinary thinking. My practice thus rests on an approach entailing research, i.e., historical and cultural fact fuels the plural forms of my plastic and poetic imagination. The sources of my inspiration are contextual. I have been developing a territory-specific approach that favors la dérive, drift, a concept I have borrowed from the Situationist movement founded by Guy Debord in 1957, according to which discovery of a territory takes place through a network of lived experiences. This psycho-geographic experimentation leads then to a reconsideration of the urban space in which we move by superimposing and mixing references.
“Thus, as an artist, I see myself as a translator. Translation is not a simple passing between two cultures or a simple act of transmission; it also functions as an extension of meaning and form. The act of translating deconstructs the binary and often hierarchic relationship between the concepts of original and copy. A rewriting of narratives is possible then within the work. Through my work I am looking to bring to light a story that is global, made up of porous borders and reciprocal influences.
“When cultural confusion leads to social and political trouble, I think it is essential that we indeed highlight those conjunctions in order to open up a reflexive, generative way that comes from a critical view of the world.”
The Franco-Algerian artist Katia Kameli lives and works in Paris. She completed a DNSEP degree at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Bourges, and a postgraduate degree (the Collège-Invisible directed by Paul Devautour) at the École Supérieure d’Arts, Marseille. Her work has drawn people’s attention and garnered recognition nationally and internationally on the art and film scenes, and has already been featured in several solo exhibitions (the Mosaic Rooms, London; Artconnexion, Lille; Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York; Transpalette, Bourges). Kameli has also taken part in many group shows (Centre Pompidou, Paris; Mucem, Marseille; Havre Magasinet, Boden, Sweden; Bozar, Brussels; Lubumbashi Biennial, Congo; For a Sustainable World, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal; MAC Marseille; Biennial of Dakar; Biennial of Marrakech; Biennial of Bamako, Mali). In 2006 and 2011, Kameli directed and produced “Bledi in Progress” and “Trans-Maghreb,” Algiers-based video platforms for young filmmakers from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. In 2008 she was selected for the Paris-New York CulturesFrance program with a residency at Location One in New York. In 2012 she was awarded the Delfina Foundation Prize with a residency in London.
On La Question, by Estelle Nabeyrat
“Gilberte Salem (née Serfaty) and Henri Alleg met in Algiers at the end of WWII. They worked for the France-Afrique press agency. Shortly after their wedding in 1946, they took up the Communist cause and became fervent militants in the anti-colonialist struggle. Gilberte became an English teacher and put her knowledge to work for the Algerian Communist Party and the Women’s Union of Algeria. But her commitment found no favor with the National Education Department, on the contrary, and she was forced to resign. When he became the editor-in-chief of the Alger Républicain, Henri was obliged to go underground, in late 1954. On 12 June 1957 he was arrested and imprisoned by the French army. Meanwhile Gilberte was transferred to France, where she would continue to work to free her husband. During his incarceration in Algeria, Henri was tortured by French paratroopers like many other Algerian and French militants, some of whom, like Maurice Audin, would never return. To bear witness to this tragic episode, Alleg would later write La question, a major work and point of reference in the history of colonialism. Published in 1958 by Éditions de Minuit with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, the book was initially censored in France before eventually being republished. Other publications followed. Faithful to their ideals, he and his partner would continue to fight against colonial imperialism to the end of their lives. After a long and distinguished career as a journalist and later the General Secretary of the Communist newspaper Humanité, Henri retired and the couple settled in the Parisian banlieu of Palaiseau (91).
“Until their sad end, both Gilberte et Henri were my family’s neighbors and comrades in the struggle. In 2008 I undertook a series of filmed interviews with Henri; Gilberte refused to talk to the camera. At the point where their history and the history of my family intersect, I wanted to delve into the notion of commitment, that of my French grandfather, an officer and part of the Underground, who was active in the Limousin sector; and of my German grandfather, who deserted the Nazi army and was taken prisoner. Even more, Henri’s story represents soul-searching that focuses directly on the violence of France’s colonial history, the resurgence of which I am examining in depth and whose genealogy has yet to be fully parsed. In 2014 I did my first study of the subject in Algiers, where I met former collaborators and partisans of Republican Algeria, including Inal Souad, the founder of the Abdlehamid Benzine Association in Algiers. Working with a visual archive made up of excerpts from fiction films (Jean Luc Godard’s Le petit Soldat,), a biopic (Laurent Heynemann’s La Question), and documentaries (Jean-Pierre Lledo’s Le rêve algérien), as well as images drawn from Henri Alleg’s personal archives and excerpts from the interviews I was able to record while in Algiers, I propose to share this introspection on the history of the Algerian War and its independence, viewed through the prism of Henri Alleg’s story.”
Estelle Nabeyrat is an exhibition curator and art critic. She lives and works between Paris and Lisbon.
Q&A with Anne-Lou Vincente
The invitation to the “Mémoire double” show is also the chance to pursue a series of exchanges with Angélique Buisson that began some time ago on these same questions – which resonate with the artist’s project for CAC Brétigny as well as her practice more generally. We can already say, even predict with certainty, that the interview with touch on the psychoanalytical notion of screen memory. We will be examining both the shifting of screen memory into the realm of art and the emotions in light of questioning film – both a support and medium – in its broader field; and the dissemination through language of a poetics of (back)projection (willingly immaterial and mental), mixing in an alchemy-like way fiction and reality, memory and imagination, and associating script, reading(s) and interpretation(s).
Anne-Lou Vicente (1979) is an art critic, publisher, and freelance curator based in Paris. Since 2005 she has regularly written for art and culture publications, including Espace, Trois couleurs, 02, Particules, as well as exhibition catalogues and venues. She cofounded the review for contemporary art devoted to sound and audio work VOLUME (2010-2013) and the publishing and curatorial platform What You See Is What You Hear. Suffused with a special sensibility attuned to the phenomena and processes of perception, memory, and transmission, and to what is revealed and hidden – in terms of the object, the image, and language – Vincente’s research and work mostly deal with practices and pieces that summon and combine the (in)visible, (in)audible, and/or (in)expressible in ways that individual elements resonate with the others.
- Double Memory 12.01—27.01.18 (Exhibitions)