The Situationist Effect - Katia Kameli

23 April - 22 May 2014 Taymour Grahne Gallery

Taymour Grahne Gallery is proud to present The Situationist Effect, a solo exhibition of work by the Paris-based Franco-Algerian artist Katia Kameli.


Marking the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York, The Situationist Effectdocuments Kameli’s personal approach to the city of Marseille and its surroundings, through a film and a series of photographs that transform the downstairs gallery into an intimate cinematic space.


The Situationist Effect takes us to the outskirts of Marseille, driven by the artist’s keen and poetic eye. Her film Futur, based on interviews with fifteen employees from Futur Telecom Company, appropriates and transforms local visual perceptions of the surrounding city.  Futur unfolds by the riverbanks in Martigue – capturing a cemetery, a soccer stadium – and follows a group of teenagers to the popular Bar Olive and as they play basketball and loiter with skateboards. In a display imagined specifically for the gallery space, the film provides the viewer with a “keyhole” perspective on the regional political situation. Through cinematography, Kameli reveals the in-between grey zones, where surface and content interact, where tradition meets modernity, and where the social, economical and political dimensions of a localized context can be analyzed. 


Independent curator and art historian Fabienne Bideaud describes Kameli’s exploration of the city’s landscape as ‘constructive wandering.’ She writes, “This specific approach to understanding a city recalls the Situationist International, the avant-garde movement largely instigated by the French theorist and filmmaker Guy Debord, who co-founded the group in 1957, and for whom the ‘situation’ was the existential framework in which individuals have an active role to play in the understanding of a territory.”


In The Situationist Effect, Kameli explores issues of territory as related to social and cultural development, with an overarching sense for tradition. She is especially interested in the relationship of tradition to modernity in Africa and the Middle East, traced through her works The Growing Block (2012), Concrete (2012), Dissolution (2010), and Storyteller (2012). Closely linked to personal experiences and ephemeral identities, Kameli uses sound, video and photographic installation to moderate the boundaries between art and cinema, and the tactics of dérive (drifting) and détournement (diversion), to transform a city into an arena for creation, recasting constraints that prevent the development of meaningful ventures in both life and culture. 


Katia Kameli has exhibited around the world, with her most recent solo-exhibitions including: Third Space, Galerie Mamia Bretesche, Paris (2013); 7 Acts of Love in 7 days of Boredom, Transpalette, Bourges (2012); Duty Free, Videochroniques, Marseille (2012).  Kameli has also participated in numerous group shows that include:  Lubumbashi Biennale, Congo (2013); Visual Arts Festival Damascus, DEPO; Istanbul (2013); Pour un Monde Durable, Gulbekian Foundation, Portugal (2013); Pierre qui roule, Etemad Gallery, Dubai (2013); Le Pont, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Marseille (2013); Shifting CardsLes bains douches, Marseille (2012); De Paso en la Tierra, Institut Francais Seville and Madrid, Dak'art, Dakar Biennale (2012); Higher Atlas, Marrakech Biennale (2012); Bamako Biennale, Mali (2011); New Carthographies, CornerHouse, Manchester (2011).