What Looks Back at Us - Fayçal Baghriche

28 May - 27 June 2015 Taymour Grahne Gallery

Taymour Grahne Gallery is proud to announce What Looks Back at Us, a solo exhibition by French-Algerian artist Fayçal Baghriche, featuring Atlas Series, his brand new body of work.


Titled after its namesake, the Atlas Mountains, the series showcases photographs of the site, which is rich in minerals and semi-precious stones that are highly sought after. Along a popular travel path through the mountains, locals sell imitations of these rocks to tourists, unearthing colorless and valueless quartz Geodes, and dying their interiors in vibrant colors, in order to appeal to and demand high prices from potential customers. Baghriche is interested in how these objects, initially barren, are imbued with value, and how they become one person’s livelihood and another’s prized possession. In this sense, the photographic representation of the geodes reflects the object’s beauty, capturing the idea of luxury, in sharp contrast with the disheveled and worn out hands that hold them. The artist forces us to question the very essence of the art we acquire, and to reconsider our expectations associated with our purchases. By presenting these photos in the context of a gallery, Baghriche assimilates himself to the makers of these artfully crafted geodes. 


The Message is based on Mustapha Akkad historical-religious movie from the 1970s. Narrating the birth and rise of Islam, his goal was to bridge the knowledge and historical distances between East and West. The film was made in two distinct identical versions, with each scene shot twice, one in English and the other in Arabic. Both casts featured big names from Hollywood (Anthony Quinn and Irène Papas) and the Arab film industry.


Fayçal Baghriche’s project sets out to weave both versions into a single montage. He edits each scene so as to bind characters and narrative together, creating a dialogue between American and Arab actors in their respective languages. The result is a film that recasts the boundaries of expression, culture and religion. The artist’s interest lies in the question of representation, and how a population recognizes itself within its popular heroes. 


Fayçal Baghriche grew up navigating between Arab and Western cultures, fusing both vernaculars in his artistic practice. His craft challenges the frameworks of society by playing with our perception of reality. His installations, performances and photographs evoke scenes of daily life, revealing the stereotypes of human conduct, perception and expression. By introducing slight discrepancies in his routinely scenes, the artist unveils the instinctive nature of humans. Whether with regards to language or behavior, he seeks to distance his viewers from the stereotypes of ordinary life. Through poetry and humor, he stimulates critical thinking in works that are both theatrical and visual inversions of reality. 


Baghriche received a Fine Arts diploma from La Villa Arson, Nice, a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Sophia Antipolis, Nice, and an MA in Multimedia Creation from the National School of Fine Arts, Paris. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions in France and internationally. He has participated in Brooklyn Euphoria, New York, and Dashanzi International Art Festival, Beijing. He has shown his work in Outpost for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Bielefelder Kunstverein, Germany; Al Riwaq Art Space, Bahrain and The Museum of Modern Art of Algiers, Algeria. He was included in La force de l’Art in 2009, and took part in Nuit Blanche, Paris, and Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse. In 2010 he exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art Paris, Museum of Contemporary Art Bordeaux, and Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence. In 2011, he was part of The Future of a Promise, at the 54th Venice Biennale.