Zoulikha BOUABDELLAH, Le Sommeil (A Tribute to Gustave Courbet), 2016-2019. Red lacquer on 8 papers, 160 x 280 cm. © Zoulikha Bouabdellah. Courtesy of Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.
Presentation by Anissa Bouayed
The art of Zoulikha Bouabdellah is a non-neutral way of talking about our world, of contesting certain aspects of it, of wanting to transform it - a transgressive art, whose intentionality can be found in works denouncing situations long considered as normative. , such as the question of gender or that of the place given to women in the dominant patriarchal order.
Zoulikha Bouabdellah’s latest works bear witness to a sustained attention to works from the history of European art in order to activate them, to make them speak again, today, not of the past but of the present, by looking at them from current aesthetic and political intentions. Not that the artist has abandoned the other side of her creation, which draws from her Muslim culture the elements that she remodels according to her creative objectives. But she is working on the construction of an extensive body of work, which testifies in its very evolution, in the multiplicity of centers of interest and the broadening of themes, to a consciousness on a world scale.
In Le Sommeil, the line follows the curves of two bodies. The line is unfinished, suspended, its monochrome red color sends us back to blood, symbol of life and to the sensual red of carnal pleasure, which the amorous pose of the two bodies knotted in sublime sleep, preserving this beautiful way of Courbet to evoke the female pleasure and sapphism in the rigorous social context which was his.
Zoulikha spans the centuries to signify that the issues of social control over women are not yet resolved and sets up this fragmented device that makes us mentally remember the work cited in its entirety, while it only offers body parts, organized around an empty center, which grips us as if in a vertigo and awakens in us a refusal of fragmentation.