“Éloge de l’ombre”, Exhibition of Artist Safouane Ben Slama, his Premiere in La Boîte for Contemporary Art in Tunis

In spring 2018, Safouane Ben Slama travelled through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Exploring the vast expanses and endless horizons of the Moroccan desert and the Tunisian seaside, he has also travelled the streets of Algiers to meet the people of the city.

” Éloge de l’ombre” is a careful observation of the light. Often changing, at sunset, the sky takes a central place in Safouane Ben Slama’s exhibition.

But the foreground is often the direct environment, whether natural or urban, where the effects of this ongoing transformation are perceptible.

The title “Éloge de l’ombre” and its borrowing from the eponymous book by Japanese author Tanizaki Junichirô take on its full meaning.

Tanizaki’s “Eloge de l’ombre” is an ode to simplicity and discretion, against the flashy, in order to appreciate the beauty of imperfect, modest things and altered by time. In line with this philosophy, Safouane Ben Slama has chosen to focus his attention on those wonders that have remained in the metaphorical ombre (shadow), to highlight this less obvious beauty that has undergone the patina of time and learn to look again.  

In a statement to TunisianMonitorOnline, on the occasion of the opening of this exhibition on Thursday, February 20, 2020, to continue until May 20, 2020, Safouane Ben Slama said: “It is an honour to present this work in preview in Tunis. It has been thought about for a few years now, after my reading of the Japanese philosopher Tanizaki’s book, “Éloge de l’ombre”. In this book, he defines what the specific beauty of Japan is. I have personally found many points of connection with Tunisia, especially in taking time to contemplate… this is how I began my images through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia! Throughout this stay, the project which started from philosophical concepts will develop towards something more and more sensual.”

“I was marked by a young Algerian boy who told me that he found himself in such and such a place because they were beautiful. I was moved to see a child, so young and at the same time so clear-headed”, he added.

Fatma Kilani, Founder of “La Boite” and Professor at the Institute of Higher Commercial Studies of Carthage (I.H.E.C.) said in turn, “it is a great pleasure to organize the first solo show of Safouane Ben Slama which is a premiere for an artist, and I am very happy to be able to participate in this first emotion.”

In her statement to TunisianMonitorOnline, she described the exhibition of Safouane Ben Slama as an interesting show because it covers three countries of the North Africa region.

Fatma Kilani said that Safouane’s exhibition is about the common life, common points, common gestures and common spaces of these three countries of North Africa and therefore there is a kind of loss of reference when looking at the exhibition that the photographer mixes the three different countries. “It is difficult to really identify a country or to identify a city and distinguish it from others” she noted adding that “somewhere beyond what can divide us in politics there are links and there is a way of seeing things and assessing them.”

“There is a photograph that I particularly like that deals with a shot of an angle of view as Safouane said “an angle of view taken by a sniper” in this case it is a very particular angle of view that no one else can capture at the same place,” she indicated.

Fatma Kilani said that this capture is interesting because it shows the history of the city, reminding of the French colonization where the Algerians themselves have appropriated these buildings that have somehow made them in their own way by hanging curtains and stuff there which reveals the existence of a double culture that shows all the identity of the Algerians.

In addition to the talent of the Safouane the photographer, he has the ability to pay attention to details outside the urban city too, she revealed.

« La Boite » is an art space that stands out for its approach and location

As the founder of this initiative, Fatma Kilani did not content herself with this geographical exception by placing the promotion of artistic culture at the heart of her project. On the second floor of the headquarters of the Kilani Group in the industrial zone of Cherguia I, a special art space called “La boite”. In this space, artists are chosen by the group, come to present their works to the company’s staff. The presentations take place in three stages: the discovery of the works, the explanation by the artist of his intentions and the dialogue on the creative process. This process is a source of emotion for the participants and mutual enrichment. For the artist, it is not easy to convey emotion and translate it into words. In return, the public’s feeling enriches the work and the artist, because the more intense and varied the exchanges around his work, the more they give it meaning.

TunisianMonitorOnline (NejiMed)

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