Voice-Over: Zineb Sedira
May 8, 2021 - Jan 30, 2022
In her solo-exhibition Voice-Over, Sedira creates a new iteration for SMoCA of Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go, an installation first shown at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2019. Zineb Sedira will be the first artist of African descent to represent France at the 2022 Venice Biennale.
London-based French born Algerian artist Zineb Sedira has been mining her relationship to memory, post-coloniality, and transnational identity in her artistic practice for over 25 years. Born in Paris in 1963 to Algerian immigrant parents and raised in what is considered the “racial other” suburbs (banlieus) of Paris, Sedira went on to graduate from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and the Slade School of Art in London, where she was influenced by Stuart Hall, British cultural studies, and the Black Arts Movement.
Sedira’s work conveys the political through the personal, deploying multiple storytelling tactics and voices. Using photography, video, archival films, and recorded interviews, she unpacks issues such as the silenced cultural history of Algeria and her heritage inscribed within the French colonialization of Algeria, her parents’ homeland. By questioning the relation between history and aesthetics, trauma and form, Sedira has established herself as a significant voice in the global contemporary artworld. She will be the first artist of African descent to represent France at the 2022 Venice Biennale.
Voice-Over is organized in two parts. In the larger gallery, Sedira creates a new iteration of the installation Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go based on the Pan-African Festival of 1969 and the documentary by William Klein of the same year. This four-part installation was first shown in 2019 at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and commissioned by Jeu de Paume, Paris, France; IVAM, Valencia, Spain; Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal; and Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden.
The second gallery features two of Sedira’s seminal videos. Mother Tongue (2002) is an early foundational work that speaks directly to the practices of oral transmission and marginalized storytelling, and to the concept of memory as a way of representing diasporic identity across generations and cultures. In The End of the World (2010), the artist employs her signature voice-over technique as a radical device which disrupts the conventions of documentary. Here she elaborates both literally and symbolically on other preoccupations of her practice: the environmental costs of globalization, issues around cultural archives, and displacement.
Organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and guest curated by Dr. Natasha Boas, a French American international independent curator, scholar, and critic based in San Francisco and Paris. The exhibition is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation, the Institut Français and the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles. Special thanks to Stinkweeds Record Store, Phoenix.
Zineb Sedira was born in 1963 in Paris and currently resides in London where she splits her time between working in Algiers, Algeria, Paris, and London. Sedira’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume (Paris, 2019), Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (Spain, 2019), Beirut Art Center (Lebanon, 2018), Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces (UAE, 2018), the Art On the Underground (London, 2016), the Blaffer Art Museum (Houston, 2013), the Charles H. Scott Gallery (Vancouver, Canada, 2013), the Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art (Toronto, 2010), Musée d’art Contemporain de Marseille (France, 2010) and Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2010), among others.
Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions in institutions such as Tate Britain (London, 2002, 2012, 2013), Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2004, 2009), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2005), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead, 2005), Musée d’Art Moderne d’Alger (2007), Brooklyn Museum (New York, 2007), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Qatar, 2010), Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki, 2011), Gwangju Museum of Art (South Korea), Centre Pompidou-Metz (France,2013), Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, 2016),Tate Modern (London, 2017), as well as in biennials and triennials, including the Venice Biennale (2001, 2011), the triennial for photography and video at the International Center of Photography (New York, 2003), the Sharjah Biennial (UAE, 2003, 2007), the Folkestone Triennial (England, 2011), and New Orleans’ International Art Exhibition (US, 2017).
Sedira is the founder of aria (artist residency in Algiers), a residency program to support the development of the contemporary art scene in Algeria through international cross-cultural exchanges and collaborations. She is shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2021 and will represent France at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022.
Natasha Boas is a French American international independent curator, scholar, and critic based in San Francisco and Paris. She has been curating for over 25 years as an advocate for under-recognized artists for such institutions as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou Paris, and LACMA as well as galleries and artist spaces throughout the world. Her work has gained international critical recognition, most recently with Baya: Women of Algiers at the Grey Art Gallery NYU 2018. Dr. Boas views curating as a form of problem solving, a way to work through art-historical challenges posed by certain art and artists. She currently has a particular investment in understanding and presenting works by transnational women artists and makes useful connections within the broader, newly reconstructed, narrative of Western art history.
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