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23 August 2012

Mehdi Meddaci in Arles

Mehdi Meddaci’s plastic work keeps its distance, staying on the level of the “poetic” and bearing witness to its deep roots in Mediterranean space. It builds itself through successive strata, taking the form of devices or autonomous modules such as Corps Traversés (Pierced Bodies, 2007), Lancer une pierre, (To throw a stone, 2008) or Sans-titre, Alger la blanche (Untitled, Alger la blanche, 2009), which allow photography, video and film to resonate with each other. Like a “sea surrounded by land”, everything is in the offset between sound and image, between the document and the artifice, between the sway of bodies and the pregnancy of landscapes. The editing gives rise to a desire, within the viewer, to deconstruct what we might rebuild, conferring importance on the potentiality of possible worlds. What is visible is carried by the odd sensation of missing something – a History, perhaps. Meddaci, by altering the signifiers of appearance in this History, seeks to reaffirm a continuity threatened to the point of extinction. His images, whether metaphorical or literal, present us with a motif, a body submerged between two shores: people framed full-on yet absent at the same time, anchored in a strong décor and socio-political context while also being profoundly lost. Paradoxically, it’s in the act of waiting, with our backs to the wall, that the need for a “crossing,” for a “return trip” is the most tangible.

Walls takes shape as a landscape, a territory. Gestures and situations, arrested in an instant of truth, at the limits of evidence, form the context necessary for a story, for a spooling of time. It consists of an audio-visual installation played simultaneously on five screens accompanying the showing of the sixth cut of Tenir les murs (Hold the Walls), a film which, when cut, is destined for a commercial cinema. Walls includes every scene and angle shot during filming. As it seeks obsessively to show the breakdown of fiction, the installation broadens vision and offers ellipses of certain sequences: a possible suicide, a pause by a blue bridge, a return by sea. All these sets together form the context necessary to create a “wall of signs”. The deconstruction of time (elapsed) reveals itself to be a flux, setting up the fragility of the true event: the inverted trajectory of exile superimposed on an image of Algiers.

Mehdi Meddaci


Installation venue: Atelier des Forges, parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2012.