January 22, 2018 - Chisenhale Gallery - Lydia Ourahmane: The you in us
January 22, 2018

Chisenhale Gallery

Lydia Ourahmane, The you in us, 2018. Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London. Courtesy of the artist.

Lydia Ourahmane
The you in us
January 26–March 25, 2018

Chisenhale Gallery
64 Chisenhale Road
London E3 5QZ
United Kingdom
Hours: Thursday–Sunday 12–6pm

T +44 20 8981 4518

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Chisenhale Gallery presents The you in us, a major new commission and the first solo exhibition in an institution by London and Oran-based artist Lydia Ourahmane. Comprising installation, sculpture and sound, Ourahmane’s exhibition continues her ongoing engagement with the emotional, psychological and political charge of material and place.

For her exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery, Ourahmane explores immigration and displacement in relation to her personal history. Influenced by time spent living and working from her family home in Oran, Algeria, Ourahmane’s new body of work investigates transformation through sonic and sculptural registers.

Informed by personal encounters, Ourahmane’s work raises questions surrounding systems of exchange and dissemination. Recurring throughout Ourahmane’s work is the impulse to address acts of displacement, in which allegories of absence and removal evoke wider issues of place and migration. In The Third Choir (2014-15) the blunt physical presence of 20 used and empty oil barrels is of equal importance as the recorded process of their transport across international borders. Ourahmane’s installation All the way up to the Heavens and down to the depths of Hell (2017), exhibited as part of the 15th Istanbul Biennial presents a provisional concrete and steel structure, referencing the precarious nature of land and property rights. Visited intermittently by a solitary trumpet player’s eerie melody, the work reflects on environmental degradation and loss of public space.

Works within the exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery resonate through acts of cause and effect between materials, the audience and Ourahmane herself. Central to the show is a floor-based sound installation combining audio from field recordings made by Ourahmane whilst in Oran with sound scores composed and performed by the artist and her collaborators. A single gold tooth resides in the gallery space, while a duplicate gold tooth is implanted within Ourahmane’s mouth. This work is shown alongside documents referencing her grandfather’s resistance to military service under the French occupation of Algeria by extracting his own teeth. The archive also refers to the documents’ current use by his descendants to claim French citizenship by right of blood.

Explored through a non-linguistic approach to narrative—such as the use of deep listening and visceral engagement—Ourahmane implements both her own body and the body of the viewer to ask questions including, how is localised trauma felt on a collective level and how do forms of resilience and respite manifest? Explored in relation to Ourahmane’s subjectivity and political agency, this major body of work pursues lived experience as matter and as form.

Lydia Ourahmane’s exhibition commences the programme for 2018, which includes major new commissions by artists Paul Maheke, Banu Cennetoğlu and Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Through her work, Ourahmane raises complex questions concerning the effects of geographic borders on bodies and how systems of governance influence everyday experience, themes which recur throughout Chisenhale’s programme for 2018. 

Exhibition events:
As part of the commissioning process, a programme of events has been devised in collaboration with Lydia Ourahmane, including talks at the gallery and offsite events at local schools.

Youssef Ourahmane responds to Lydia Ourahmane's exhibition
Friday, January 26, 4pm
Youssef Ourahmane responds to Lydia Ourahmane’s exhibition, expanding on the narrative behind Ourahmane’s new work, In the Absence of our Mothers (2015–18), part of her Chisenhale Gallery commission.

Lydia Ourahmane in conversation with Venetia Porter
Wednesday, January 31, 7pm
Lydia Ourahmane is joined in conversation by Venetia Porter, Assistant Keeper (Curator), Islamic and contemporary Middle East at the British Museum, to discuss Ourahmane’s previous work in relation to her new commission.

Early morning viewing
Friday, February 9, 9–10:30am
An early morning viewing of Lydia Ourahmane’s exhibition, with an introduction to the work by Eliel Jones, Curatorial Assistant: Commissions at Chisenhale Gallery. Coffee and cakes are generously provided by the East End Women’s Institute.

Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith leads a tour of Lydia Ourahmane's exhibition
Saturday, February 24, 2pm
Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith leads a gallery tour of Lydia Ourahmane’s new exhibition. Mac Giolla Léith is Associate Professor in the School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore at University College Dublin and writes extensively on contemporary art.

Curator's talk and listening event with Hiba Ismail
Thursday, March 1, 7pm
Programmed in association with First Thursdays, Ellen Greig, Curator: Commissions at Chisenhale Gallery, gives an introduction to Ourahmane’s new exhibition. The talk will be followed by a listening event with artist Hiba Ismail, who will translate the lyrics of songs from a selection of 7-inch vinyl by musician Mohamed Belkhayati. 

Sound workshop for families
Saturday, March 3, 2pm
The Soundhoppers, a sound playgroup for children run by Wajid Yaseen and Mara Bueno, present a workshop for families exploring deep listening and the different properties of sound through play, using a range of soundboxes and games. This workshop is suitable for children aged 5–11 years. 

Performance evening
Friday, March 16, 7pm
Lydia Ourahmane hosts an evening of live sound performance at her home in Brixton. Doors at 7pm, performances begin at 8pm. Places are limited. Please visit our Eventbrite page to reserve a ticket and receive full details including location.

All events are free to attend, unless otherwise stated, but booking is strongly advised. Please visit chisenhale.eventbrite.co.uk to make a reservation.

Lydia Ourahmane’s exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery is supported by the Arab Foundation for Arts and Culture (AFAC); Mophradat Aisbl Grants for Artists; Joe and Marie Donnelly; and Nicoletta Fiorucci, founder of the Fiorucci Art Trust. With additional support from the Lydia Ourahmane Supporters Circle. With special thanks to Weber Industries.

Chisenhale Gallery’s Commissions Programme 2017–19 is supported by the LUMA Foundation. Chisenhale Gallery’s Curatorial Trainee Programme 2016–18 is supported by Sirine and Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh.

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The you in us
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