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Born in 1985 in Dahmani, Tunisia, Nidhal Chamekh lives and works between Paris, France and Tunis, Tunisia. His practice reflects on the times that we inhabit, situated at the intersection of the biographic and the political, the lived and the historical, the event and the archive. From drawing to installations, and from photography to videos, Nidhal Chamekh’s oeuvres dissect the constitution of our contemporary identity.
He has exhibited at internationally renowned institutions and biennials, including the MAC Lyon, France / Venice Biennial, Italy / Aïchi Triennale, Japan / Yinchuan Biennial, China / The Drawing Room, London, UK / Modern Art Oxford, UK / Skissernass Museum, Lund, Sweden / Dream City Biennial, Tunis, Tunisia / 12th edition of Bamako Encounters Photography Biennial, Mali. Chamekh’s work forms part of many prestigious collections of art, including British Museum, London, U.K. / Blachère Foundation, France / Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, U.S.A. / Barjeel Foundation, Sharjah, UAE / Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France / The Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis, Tunisia and Centre National Des Arts Plastiques (CNAP), Paris, France. He is currently a resident at Villa Medici in Rome, Italy.
Nos visages (Our Faces) continues Nidhal Chamekh’s research around visual souvenirs of figures of the past and the light they might shed on our contemporary era. For this series of drawings, the artist draws from articles of French colonial propaganda, specifically the magazine Le Miroir, founded in 1910.
Unable to pin a name to all the faces re-drawn by Nidhal Chamekh (“transferred” from the pages of Le Miroir), the artist has once again radicalized the denial of their existence by overlaying contradictory half-faces among each other. This has involved not so much blurring identities as taking the risk of laceration and tatters in order to get as close as possible to the mute wounds of a history told by the official winners. Duplicating these faces, and tearing them out of a system of coercive representation, in order to incorporate them in another time-frame: the one consisting in linking b ...
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Selma Feriani Gallery
Chamekh has developed a language that challenges history and politics in their broader sense. He performs his fragmentary research to convey an ambiguous atmosphere, shifting between the experience and the violence of the individual representation. He represents an imperceptible space between a silent violence mirroring an intimate experience of trauma.
nos visages is a project related to archival material depicting French colonial troops during the victory parade in Paris in 1850, where the colonial troops, referred to as "Tirailleurs Sénégalais" were not permitted to march alongside French soldiers, they were altogether excluded from the military procession
Join Morad Montazami as he interviews Nidhal Chamekh about his current research in his studio.
By taking these archival photographs and reworking them as drawings to combine and layer faces together, the artist radicalises the denial of the personal existence. He captures the mute wounds of a history told by the official victors of war. Duplicating these faces, and tearing them out of a system of coercive representation, in order to incorporate them in another time-frame: the one consisting of linking, beneath layers of sacrificed fates, with the “losers of the victory”. These faces which contributed to the liberation of France, but remained forever excluded from its official narrative and a w ...