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Basma Alsharif

April 25 – July 20, 2019

A 24/7 neon sign flashes relentlessly on the gallery’s vitrine. Reminiscent of Benjamin Franklin’s infamous maxim (“time is money”) that came to exemplify the spirit of capitalism[1], it signals a commercial space that is permanently open, accessible at all times. Such is the threshold that welcomes the visitor into Basma Alsharif’s second solo-exhibition at Galerie Imane Farès.

A fragment of the complex and polysemic project titled 24/7, this sign alludes at once to the normalization of labour time and the increasing pervasiveness of consumerism in both public and private spheres. The neon appears to be emblematic of the uncanny world that the artist has forged : a world in which the banknotes of imperial countries and former colonies are juxtaposed with a photograph showing the veined body of a pregnant woman. A “nonplace”[2] that telescopes entertainement, consumerism, labour, colonialism, the male gaze and maternity and signifies a whole other form of exploited labour.

Through drawings, photographs and light installations, the artist looks at the visual culture of neo-colonialism, which has come to dominate today’s globalized world. Each piece calls on the viewer to reflect on the means through which these “isms” have extended their control on us, seeping into even the most confined regions of our private lives.

Announcing a new phase in Alsharif’s practice, this overwhelming, almost totalitary macrocosm is, however, not disconnected from her previous works. While the artist’s earlier projects tackled the semiotics of representation, 24/7 subtly reveals how representations can insidously transform the eye, the mind and the body into submissive entities.


– Line Ajan, Avril 20

[1] Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Routeledge, London/ New York, 2001 [1930 for English translation, 1905 for original pubication]

[2] Marc Augé, Non-lieux, introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité, Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1992. 

Installation vue
Installation vue
Installation vue
26 drawings representing currencies of imperial countries and former colonies, pastel, 30,5 x 43 x 3 cm (each)
6 photographs showing drawings, 29 x 39 x2,5 cm (each)
Drawings and collages on Papyrus, 97 x 203,5 x 5 cm
Neon sign showing 24/7
Photograph and lightbox, 117 x 117 x 2 cm
Fake candles, palo santo and a rug
Feature film, 77 minutes
Feature film, 77 minutes
Feature film, 77 minutes