The space is clean and white, minimally dressed. Seemingly empty frames hang on one of the walls. A black circle is drawn on each pane of glass. Initially, the purpose of the marking is unclear. Is it the price of the frame? A careless scribble? But at the center of the circle, rising to the surface of perception, is a miniscule speck — a grain of sand or a bubble of air.
Fayçal Baghriche, the artist of the solo show currently exhibited at Campagne Première, tells me that they are imperfections in the glass, found by his framer. The framer would have disposed of these panes. I ask him what his interest in these slight elements is. He says that they present moments of cognition, of recognizing and thinking about the world. The speck of sand floats in the glass, as a world floats in space, as a body moves through its surroundings — no, the interpretation is none of these things specifically, but all of them at once without being spoken. The speck becomes nearly iconic, a point of meditation, bordering on the holy.
Two other walls have four images from the series “Family Friendly.” Shown in pairs are two identical cut outs from international art magazines the artist has found in Dubai. A black square over otherwise scantly clad or nude figures of women is the only distinguishable difference between the paired images. These squares demonstrate the work of a censor’s hand — standard in Dubai, as well as other Muslim countries, where depictions of nudity are forbidden.
“Is the inclusion of these pieces a political commentary?” I ask him.
He tells me that they cannot quite be considered in this way. Rather, what interests him is the progression of the art pieces, how they change through the process of censorship, what significance it holds that there are people who have only ever seen the works in these altered renditions. In the course, the censors themselves become artists: they affect the images with their assigned task, drawing over every edition of these magazines.
Much like these works, the other pieces in the collection are found objects. A large billboard poster with a washed out image of a girl holding a light bulb depicts the impact of sunlight on paper, destroying its pigments. With this mixture of intensity and blinding nothing, the show’s title comes into mind: Wenn du ins Feuer guckst (When/If you Look into the Fire).
The wax figure, “Akoah,” is a cast of a French rescue dummy. Normally, the wax would melt away, but here, the common casting method is stopped part-way through the process. The artist’s idea is to capture the intermixed play of fluidity: literally, in the liquids involved with casting, in the water for which these dummies are made — but also conceptually, in the fluctuating steps required for building something. The last piece stands alone in the back room, a spinning, lit globe entitled “Souvenir.”
Having had the pleasure of being accompanied by the artist throughout the exhibition, the artist’s explanations greatly shaped the impressions of the work shown. It is difficult to say what these impressions would have otherwise been, suggesting the possibility of interpretations falling far from the artist’s intent. Baghriche descriptions added a serious, philosophical, and poetic tone. But they also included a tinge of humour, light and almost sardonic. Speaking of the globe, he proposed that it could hold a number of meanings — the world’s movement, the difficulty of concentration with the pace of life, the global instances of economic crises. But at the same time, he suggested, it’s still a lit-up, spinning globe.
Fayçal Baghriche – “Wenn du ins Feuer guckst” – Solo exhibition
Opening: October 26, 6-9pm
Exhibition dates: October 26 – December 15; Tues-Sat, 11-6pm
Chausseestr. 116 (click here for map)
For more information, please visit: www.campagne-premiere.com