Kunsthalle Basel, Basel , Switzerland 02 Mar 2021 - 16 May 2021
Lydia Ourahmane: Barzah exhibition view. Courtesy the Artist.
What makes a home? Lydia Ourahmane (* 1992) asks this and countless related questions through the thousands of objects she transported from an Algiers apartment, which she meticulously reorganized from memory and presents together with a series of new sculptures and sound pieces as her first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland. Hers is, in essence, an inquiry into how histories of displacement and colonial oppression are inscribed upon bodies—a theme recurrent amongst her projects. Here, this questioning takes shape around the ways in which those bodies lay claim to a place while things may lay claim to those who purport to own them. So, too, is it an inquiry into the disciplining of those bodies through the regimes of surveillance and control, of nationalist bureaucracies and borderlines, all of which determine who can call a place “home.”
The result is Barzakh, an exhibition that abides: It waits for you to pass the line of a laser’s lights. It waits for you to speak out loud a private thought, only to be captured by the bugging devices and relayed to someone you don’t know, and can’t see, who may or may not be listening in. It waits for you to sit down and stretch your legs, to let down your guard, to treat her exhibition like home.
The exhibition is supported by the Ernst und Olga Gubler Hablützel Stiftung and is a co-production of Kunsthalle Basel and Triangle-Astérides, Centre d’art contemporain, Marseille, realized with the assistance of gmem-CNCM-marseille and rhizome, Algiers.