Lydia Ourahmane‘s works often begin with huge, unpretentious recommendations that find the restrictions of probability in the political, natural and otherworldly circumstances in which she works.

Her exhibition “Tassili” is an engagement with a distant desert, how and why one goes there, and the states of image making. In particular, it is about the Tassili n’Ajjer, a very remote level located near the border between southeastern Algeria and Libya.

After a relentless regulatory cycle, Lydia Ourahmane and a group of partners walked to this location to deliver another film work, also called “Tassili”, and to collect scans that were then used to make another figure. These works and the political positions they address are the subject of his exhibition at the SculptureCenter in New York through August 01, 2022.

SC_May22_211_Compressed-1024x731 Algerian artist Lydia Ourahmane presents "Tassili" at SculptureCenter

The Tassili n’Ajjer is home to a very large number of ancient paintings and cave compositions that illustrate the evolution of life in the Sahara for over a millennium.

Through an organization of caves, scenes of dispute and custom are staged in a radically different biological context, once a prolific riverbed, as the interpretation of its name suggests, and today a region of dry and cold desert.

Lydia Ourahmane‘s film is an experiment with a captivating display of images – of old evil presences, strangers, waterways and lost forests – while traveling through a disintegrating place and estimating the gravity of time.

His task also raises several quick questions, the first of which is whether this kind of image-making is a neo-frontal enterprise, at least when it is conducted by someone whose perspective and individual experience reflect an intense and fundamental respect for the traditions of pilgrim abuse. These concerns are constant in Lydia Ourahmane‘s new work on Algeria, where she was born in 1992.

Tassili both confuses and completes the logical inconsistencies of Ourahmane’s imaginative and political position. The film itself is lively and tempting. Long sections shot in the primary individual run through a striking scene at walking speed, successions being changed together over days and evenings.

Lydia Ourahmane consolidates these shots into the primary individual with seemingly static film, night vision accounts, and displaced film from 16mm film.

SC_May22_220_1_Compressed-1024x730 Algerian artist Lydia Ourahmane presents "Tassili" at SculptureCenter

His exhibition at SculptureCenter explores another way of dealing with site interference through photogrammetry, a remote sensing innovation that uses visual information to approach objects from three aspects with precision.

In a similar vein, a high-level geological design in collaboration with Yuma Burgess recreates segments of the desert surface and was 3D printed nearby at SculptureCenter in dark thermoplastic tiles.

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The work appears as a relentless field, suspended like a large screen, but it is actually a somewhat concocted scene: it decreases the distance between a few actual destinations and uses a general ill-arranged network (GAN) to create new surfaces that occupy the space between the edges of discrete exits.

Like the film, the figure consolidates an exorbitant or egocentric visuality with an assumption about what should not be visible (for various reasons), but can be felt, intended, or envisioned, an inclination underscored by the clever sheen that renders the work’s dull surface irresolute.

In recent times, the Tassili n’Ajjer has emerged as a significant movement route across the African landmass, creating new stories of brutality, piracy and other security issues.

In this unique circumstance, and despite its own complexities, Lydia Ourahmane‘s presentation can be seen as an undoing of ongoing representations, quietly invigorating essayist Ibrahim Al-Koni’s more serious and idyllic description of the desert as the main place to visit death… Since it is the isthmus between opportunity and the presence of everything outside.

Lydia Ourahmane‘s work represents the desert, and perhaps the desires of art, as a method to see beyond the intrigues of the present day while confronting the way we remain firmly bound to the political structures and material possibilities existing outside of anything else, the ten years, the hundred years, or a place in time.


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