Outset Israel supported artist Joseph Dadoune’s exhibition “Sillons”, presented at Espace Richaud, Versailles, curated by Isabelle Bourgeois.
At their core, the works by Joseph Dadoune (born in 1975) are about challenging and overcoming boundaries –those that divide East from West, central power from peripheral power, or the imaginary from the real. In this confluence of video, photography, architecture and drawing, his research combines artistic practice, social activism and metaphysical thinking. His most striking pieces include the film Sion (2006-2007), produced by the Louvre Museum and starring actress Ronit Elkabetz; Impossible Calendars (2013), exhibited at the Museum of Tel Aviv during its celebration of 100 years of Dada; and more recently, Protective Barriers, a group of autobiographical war drawings published by Éditions Arnaud Bizalion.
The exhibition “Sillons” presents alongside Dadoune’s monumental “Black Kiosk”, three series of works: “Tars”, “Impossible Calendars” and “Flowers / After War”, providing a complete panorama of Dadoune’s artistic practices and concerns, and at the artist’s initiative, entering into dialogue with pieces from the FRAC Ile-de-France collections by artists like Geneviève Asse, Camille Henrot, Eugène Leroy, Aurélie Nemours, Jean Michel Sanjouand, Jean Michel Othoniel and Helen Mirra.
A conceptual architectural work that oscillates between permanent and transitory, exploring the environmental potential inherent to abandoned buildings located on the outskirts of urban centers. The aim is to create a multicultural space that neither denies its origins or bends to the limits dictated the hegemonic authority.
A way of developing the blackness of 2D in three dimensions, the vertical opposing the horizontal. This monumental, towering installation measures 8 x 4 meters and is made entirely of bitumen. There is no attempt at hiding, denying or repressing the marks of past boiling. They are clearly there, fixed, fully expressed through a variety of shapes and sizes from canvas to canvas. Before our eyes stands the abusive history of the destroyed, the crushed, the oppressed.
4 SERIES ON PAPER:
1: Flowers / After War. Blind Spot (Tel Aviv, 2015-2016)
Series of 36 black oil pastels on paper
Each flower is embedded with two words: LOST MEMORY and two “blind spots” that symbolize the mental sweeping that alludes to the physical, autobiographical, political and philosophical amnesia surrounding conflicts, occupations and more recently, disappearances. Displayed in batches of 40, the drawings form a kind of flower field with colors the carry life and death, presence and absence.
2: Series Forty-four Sunrises, (44 x 90 years. 44 x 30 days. 44 x 12 months), 2016
Series of 44 watercolors
In his monochromatic drawing series Forty-four Sunrises, Joseph Dadoune presents the tear-off sheets of an imaginary calendar. The pages seen here do not correspond with any known dates, rather they measure the time of life and its subdivisions (first sheet: 90 years, 30 days, 12 months). From the second sheet onward, time flies by. Imagine months that last 60 days and years that are 24 months long… 90 years suddenly means living to be 180.
3: In the beginning, an impossible calendar (Saint-Cyr-L’École, 2016)
Series of 20 tar-on-paper
The drawings appear undated, yet are marked with number sequences that are undecipherable at first. They are perhaps dates from an alternative solar system.
Because it seems completely arbitrary that religious powers alone should decide that we are in the year 2017, according to the Gregorian calendar, and in 5777 according to the Jewish one. It would behoove us dissociate calendar time from our human lifespan. We should, in essence, abandon our current calendars and start over with our temporal relationships, the heart of a new space-time that corresponds to the birth of a new philosophical and existential potential.
4: Impossible Calendar/gold, olive oil (Saint-Cyr-L’École, 2016)
Series of 15 surfaces using olive oil and metallic paint on paper
Time is no longer tied to the movement of the sun or the moon, rather it rests on an entire stellar system or on chemical and geological events occurring in the universe. The indisputable human-based schedule of time, inextricable from the politico-religious, despite what we think, has lost its power. In earlier times, if man wanted to define time, he simply had to go outside into the open air and observe the moon or the sun. Today, satellites provide a new vision of our cosmic geography from a geological and temporal angle. The exhibition offers a new possibility and can be seen as a kind of utopian path.
The action takes place in the Louvre Museum. Ronit Elkabetz, the actress, appears as the allegorical embodiement of Jerusalem. The camera follows her as she is walking in the Department of the Levant. She is clad in black and carries a flag of the same color. Jerusalem – both queen and godess – is at the same time this woman in exile, empoverished and exhausted by the wars of men who have been fighting and colonizing her body for centuries. She wanders in the Louvre Museum in search for visual objects – either religious or biblical – left by the civilisations who physically occupied her and who disappeared now. But she cannot find any sign of herself, of her body throughout this wandering. Jerusalem finds herself at the crossing of two galleries where different symbols of the West are gathered. She is victim of violent acts performed by a strange dark shape. A king with his servant brings her a magnificent dress: now Jerusalem leaves off her exile plight.
PHOENIX I & II 2010
Nature and the desert light that loudly proclaim optimism are in direct contrast to the daily hardships of the periphery. Joseph Dadoune actively communes with nature. Somewhere between a meditation and a chuckle. An ironic contrast generated by the appearance of an old acacia tree and the public housing around it on the town’s edge.
The exhibition Sillons is accompanied by an eponymous book, texts by Isabelle Bourgeois (curator), Drorit Gur-Arie, Mikel Touval, Raphael Zaguri Orly and Doron Von Beider (Arnaud Bizalion Editeur).
Joseph Dadoune was recently appointed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by French Ministry of Culture. In July 2017, his project Un Printemps arabe (An Arab Spring) made up of 39 pictures and 17 videos was chosen to enter the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art – Centre Pompidou.
The exhibition “Sillons” is part of the 6th edition of “Nuit de la creation”, an urban contemporary art walk held by the City of Versailles on October 7, 2017. As a guest artist of this project, Dadoune was invited to engage with students from the School of Fine Arts of Versailles, preside over the selection committee for the projects exhibited on October 7, and present a selection of recent pieces at Espace Richaud, a recently inaugurated show space.