The first full presentation of Bourouissa’s important series revisits and contextualises the artist’s theatrical images of marginalised lives in Paris’ outskirts.
In this breakthrough series of photographs, Deutsche Börse award-winner Mohamed Bourouissa chose to appropriate the codes of history painting by staging scenes with his friends and acquaintances in the Paris banlieues where they used to hang out. Confrontations, gatherings, incidents, looks, and frozen gestures all suggest a palpable tension. Invoking Delacroix as much as Jeff Wall, Bourouissa’s high drama in the outskirts of Paris attempts to give a place in French history to individuals usually neglected and overlooked in contemporary society. In Périphérique, Bourouissa uses staging to critique stereotypical representations of these individuals, engaging with and parodying media representations of the banlieues and their inhabitants.
Périphérique was completed from 2005-2008, in the context of unprecedented riots and violence in the French banlieues against social inequality. This landmark publication of the Périphérique series in 2021 will look back on the work's original context in light of still-prescient social, economic and political issues, through the eyes of two newly-commissioned texts by Taous R. Dahmani and Clément Chéroux. This first publication of the series in full mines Bourouissa’s archives, with more than sixty pages of unseen preparatory photographs that reveal how the artist’s meticulous process of observation, preparation and collaboration with his subjects shaped this unique and bold body of work.
- Mohamed Bourouissa (b. 1978, Algeria/France) is an artist whose practice highlights territories that our societies prefer to forget. Each of his projects require a long period of immersion in order to builds a new narrative framework. Unlike the simplistic narratives prevalent in mainstream media, the artist emphasises complexity in his representations.
Bourouissa’s work focuses on situations that are always related to the emergence of a configuration of economic and political forces at specific moments in contemporary history, when certain subjects are threatened and their agency is under attack. Although explicitly critical of humanism in its Western, colonial version, Bourouissa’s work is always an attempt to restitute agency to those resilient subjects, to provide them with a sense of dignity.