James Webb


Personal Exhibition of Sammy Baloji

April 14 to July 30, 2016

Opening on Thursday, April 14 at 6 pm, in the presence of the artist

Internationally acclaimed artist Sammy Baloji will present an ambitious new exhibition at Galerie Imane Farès. His work was featured in numerous international exhibitions, from MMK Frankfurt’s ‘Divine Comédie’
(2014), the Venice Biennale’s ‘All the World Futures’ and Belgian Pavilion (2015) to, most recently, the Lyon Biennale (2015) and the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (2015). Bringing together two large-scale installations, Baloji’s highly anticipated first exhibition at Galerie Imane Farès will feature new works that have never been seen before.

What is history? According to Walter Benjamin, who defines relationships between peoples within the logic of dominator and dominated, master and slave; history is often established and written by the victor. From the outset of his work, Sammy Baloji has decided to apply the paradox defined by Hegel in which the role of master and slave are reversed. This amounts to a different writing of History according to a contradictory point of view, to employ the term in its legal sense. The relationship between Africa and Europe, the secondary effects of the Berlin Conference, the relations induced by this basic data and the relationship to the other, which is the foundation of ethnology, are placed under the spotlight by a work which, rather than denounces, subtly dismantles by using the outside perspective of the commentator.

Sammy Baloji‘s works on this paradox by superimposing times and places, stories, archaeology of places of remembrance (endogenous when it applies to people, exogenous when it applies to colonial memory), confrontations of points of view and critical analysis of admissible ties. More specifically, through juxtaposition without commentary, Baloji questions the disappearance of “what is missing”, by making it reappear through an osmotic phenomenon that gives rise to what we cannot, or do not want to see. The role of memory here lays neither in re-memorisation, nor denunciation, but in the emergence and revitalisation of facts that belong just as much to our present as to our past.

Simon Njami, 2016

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