September 13, 2018 - Kunsthalle Wien - Saâdane Afif: This Is Ornamental
September 13, 2018

Kunsthalle Wien

Yasmine d’Ouezzan at the billiards table, Agence Mondial, ca. 1931. Courtesy and Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Saâdane Afif
This Is Ornamental
September 19–November 18, 2018

Opening: September 18, 6pm, with talk between the artist and Nicolaus Schafhausen

Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz
Treitlstraße 2
1040 Vienna
Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / #SaadaneAfif

Always pushing the limits of the artwork as an object fashioned by a demiurge artist, Saâdane Afif creates ever-changing works that are only temporarily crystallized. To create them, he appeals to collaborators of diverse horizons, who bring their subjectivity and their know-how which he then re-appropriates and makes resound in his works, comparable to interminable feedback loops. At Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, Afif continues to work with collaboration, derivation and variation, but a new inflection also comes into play: he extends his investigation to the entire process of musealization, institutionalization, and historicization.

For This Is Ornamental, Afif invited the writer and poet Thomas Clerc to write the script of a play inspired by one of his earlier performance pieces, Souvenir: La Leçon de Géométrie, realised in 2014 during the 5th Marrakech Biennale on the Djemaa El Fna square. In Clerc’s play called L’Heptaèdre, seven figures meet an eighth, Yasmine d’Ouezzan—a French-Moroccan woman born in 1913 and the first female French billiards champion. Drawing on two core elements of Clerc’s script—language as the matter of the text itself, and its main character, Yasmine d’Ouezzan—the show is Afif’s first exhibition experiment arising from the theatrical text. The text is screened on a large LED panel. Placed high at one end of the exhibition space, it is reminiscent of surtitles used in theatres. On the other side of the gallery, around 60 documents about Yasmine d’Ouezzan’s life—all gathered during the months preceding the exhibition—are presented on a long, yellow, wooden structure. The entire exhibition oscillates between fictional and documentary moments, between (fake) musealization and the creation of a myth. In Afif’s work, d’Ouezzan becomes a motif, inflected in several manners and metamorphosed by the artist in his own quest to invent and create a new artistic shape through history and space.

The title of the exhibition, This Is Ornamental, sounds like a counterpoint to Adolf Loos’ Ornament and Crime, where he banished the ornament as a supposedly superfluous and outmoded feature that belongs to the field of architecture and crafts. In fact, there is no decoration or variation on what we would typically read as ornamental in the exhibition. Far from being a pre-established formal category, the “ornamental” (as used with precision by the artist) in Afif’s œuvre becomes a somewhat differential and transversal relationship between figuration and abstraction, fine and applied arts, form and concept, image and text, high and low, the known and unknown. In this way, the artist not only inscribes his intervention at odds with the usual way we interpret the visible but opens a transcultural dialogue between the East and the West, playing on the respective and reciprocal projections and receptions that have defined a conflictual, stereotypical and often violent relationship.

Curator: Anne Faucheret

Saâdane Afif (b. 1970, Vendôme, France) is a conceptual and installation artist based in Berlin.

His work focuses on interpretation, exchange, and circulation and explores various media (performance, objects, text and printed matter) without categorizing his methods under any specific discipline. All of his projects are subject to a continuous process of alteration. Recent international exhibitions have included Paroles, Wiels, Brussels (2018); Ici., Leopold-Hoesch-Museum & Papiermuseum, Düren, Germany (2017) and Là-Bas., La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2017); The Fountain Archives, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2017) and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2017); Quoi?—L’Éternité, Atelier Hermès, Seoul (2016); Vice de Forme: Das Kabarett, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016); Das Ende der Welt, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin (2015); and Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2015). His work was included in Documenta 12 (2007) and in the International Exhibition of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). The artist won the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2009, which led to an exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2010), and the Prix Meurice pour l’art contemporain in 2015.

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For further information please contact: Susanne Fernandes Silva
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This Is Ornamental
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