HOUSE OF REASONED TRUTHS
HOUSE OF REASONED TRUTHS
Recent Video Art from Africa
Curated by Kisito Assangni
featuring works by: Halida Boughriet, César Schofield Cardoso, Djibril Dramé, Victor Mutelekesha, Nyancho NwaNri, Harold Offeh, Minnette Vári, and Haythem Zakaria
September 16th – October 28th, 2023
Technological advancement and interculturalism have transformed contemporary African art, introducing a broad range of new forms of expression along with new perspectives on culture and society to Africa’s thriving art scene. With particular attention to contemporary video art, House of Reasoned Truths taps into the vitality of this recent work, capturing its aesthetics and broad range of formal strategies, while focusing specifically on its capacity to address the challenges of modern life in an era of globalization. The artists in this show come from across the continent. They work reflexively, using the conventions on their respective social worlds to meditate on them and their contradictions. They speak to questions of community, social cohesion, feminism, diasporic subjectivity, geopolitics, environmental forces, performativity, and power – provoking reflection on Africa and the world today, beyond historically reductive classifications
Halida Boughriet, Feuille d’or (Gold leaf), 2022, 06:41
Fire eats the wood up, it moves fast, to Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, dedicated to George Bridgetower. Sounds of crepitation and enlivening violin strings open the scene in darkness. Life and death, a violin burns, like the memory of Bridgetower, in the half-light, blue red flames licking around it. A British Black virtuoso violinist, Bridgetower performed the piece “sight-reading with Beethoven at the 1803 première”. The artist lights a match upon ancient faces from Caravaggio to Valentin de Boulogne. A performance of a hand and a flame over an image. The flame flickers, hesitates, is hungry. Together, hand and flame graze the image, as though about to set it alight. Black women, North African women, women as ‘Other’, women as forsaken, orientalised, enslaved, objectified.
With her captivating voice, Halida Boughriet takes her viewer by the hand, reading poems by the Romantics – Baudelaire, de Vigny, Flaubert – whose crafted words entrap the Oriental muse, and unsettle a contemporary consciousness.
Senghor’s verses offer an alternative voice, accompanying archival photographs of North African women in native dress and jewels, on whom so much patriarchal erotic desire and violence has been thrust.
The colony, the empire, the archive, the vast collections of photographs of the disempowered, on the web, searchable and up for purchase. Has much changed since they were taken? The rhythm of the voice questions and seduces, the flame, briefly revealing a brutal history, connects us to the sticky web of primitivism that saturates Western culture, without ever touching the image. We float through in the partial light, trying to remember and re-member a different history, still trapped in the shadows of this time, our time. A brief moment, too short, is conceded to try to understand the consequences of Western civilisation, after which the match consumes itself, the flame withers and dies. (Martina Caruso, art historian)