Nicene Kossentini

Tunis, Tunisia

March 7 - April 3, 2018

Curated by Fountainhead Alum Curator Dermis Leon. Sponsored in part by Sabrina Amrani

Artist Statement

Nicène Kossentini was born in Sfax, Tunisia and currently lives and works between Tunis and Paris. Her videos, photographs, sculptures, works on paper and paintings question the current events in the world. In this perspective, she always slips down the quest of aesthetic, beauty and poetry to confront cold violence.

Each of her works is an invitation to experience a symbiosis with a space of life that is both close and uncertain. Playing with black and white contrasts and zones of semi-visibility, Kossentini creates singular and minimalist environments. Her photographs and videos track the traces of sites and faces on the verge of disappearance, hypnotizing the spectator looking forward to an imminent event. The voluntarily slow movement of her videos restores the phenomenological dimension of time to suggest a better sense of place, rendering it strangely enigmatic.

According to art historian Christine Buci-Blucksmann, three kinds of looks that can be called Icarian Eye are running throughout Nicene Kossentini’s body of work: Look up, look from above and across, or look dipping down. Looking for a floating or lacking horizon, Nicene Kossentini is making the sky a ‘matrix’ between reality and fiction.

With her photographic and video work of temporal landscapes, Kossentini not only evokes her home – which she describes as ‘secret gardens’, but also evokes the secret gardens that may reside in each one of us. This metaphorical conception of space, a mental space that is neither fictional nor real, invites the spectator to plunge into an indecisive world between presence and absence, between forgetting and remembering.

Nicène Kossentini’s work has been shown during several solo and collective exhibitions including: the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst; Frankfurt, Germany: Gwangju Museum of Art; Gwangju, South Korea: The National Museum of Bahrain; Manama, Bahrain: Pori Art Museum; Finland: Museum of Tunis and Kheireddine Palace; Tunis, Tunisia: Museo Arte Contemporanea Ticino; Bellinzona, Switzerland: National Centre for Contemporary Arts; Moscow, Russia: Museum of Contemporary Art of Algiers; Algeria and Circulo de Bellas Artes; Madrid, Spain.

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