Artist: Amie Barouh
Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix presents the solo exhibition of Amie Barouh. It is the first time the emerging French-Japanese artist exhibits her works in the Great Britain. Installations of several new short video works and paintings on paper comprise the show of the recent Beaux-Arts de Paris graduate who is noted for her videos between documentary and fiction, giving voice to those who live on margins of society.
The birth of Béthanie, a baby girl in a Roma community Barouh has befriended since over a decade ago, has inspired the artist profoundly. She is named after a place where a miracle - a core Christian tenet of Jesus's eventual return - is to take place, symbolising hope despite perseverance it calls for, including relentlessly long waiting.
The exhibition is a sort of a record of the young artist's journey to access and to a certain extent, assimilate the Roma culture which is totally removed from her own. She has researched the belief, knowledge, cosmologie of Roma, a group of communities ostracised within the Western European vision of the world. Having witnessed strict Evangelical Christian code of life suffocating at times, almost to the point of oppressing, she has come to wonder why they continue to observe such conventions. The artist has found the magic, a discipline she has long been interested, may provide a key to access their culture; Magic could be means to change perceptions of the world through presenting different realities and hope. It is an amalgam of fiction, belief and reality which form central focal points of her research. In one of the short films, a teenager presents magic tricks to a curious boy.
A series of new films present a new approach to the investigation; the artist inviting her Roma friends to take active roles to devise their own plans as actors, cameraman and production managers,. Barouh found the participants, empowered to create and present new persona, were often proud to enact their ideal selves, which may be imagined personalities but in their minds these characters are who they are, the promised beings upon the advent of the miracle after perpetual precarious life of waiting. The film making served as a sort of magic allowing them to play the true selves, while the birth of the Béthanie came as a reminder of the promise of miracle. Not less important, is the aspect of unknown, excitement and apprehension, of what future brings to Béthanie and to the people around her including Barouh, an emotional realisation to the artist given the strong tie between her and the baby bearing a name of hope.
The final editions of the films are mixture of the resulting footages with daily life documentary of the Roma community, at times revealing contrast between sweet ideal and harsh realities.
A number of small format paintings on paper on the ground floor gallery complement the show reflecting the artist's life-long interests in the primitive cultures, mythologies and outsider art which have served as her primary drive for creative energy and urge to understand various cultures.
In addition to new short videos, 'The Lost Dog' is projected in the lower floor gallery which premiered at the first edition of the Festival de Film de la Villa Medici in 2021 and which won the artist the Felicità des Felicità prize awarded by the Amis des Beaux Arts de Paris.
Amie Barouh (1993, born in Tokyo, lives and works in Paris)
'Amie Barouh creates an experimental documentary giving voice to those at the margin of society. Presentation and subjective editing espouse her heartbeat where impressionistic or realistic images originate, reconstructing the full complexity of documenting the world to which we do not belong.' (Julie Akermann) Barouh graduated from Beaux-Arts de Paris (ateliers Cogitore et Alberola) in 2020, attended Ecole Nationale de Cirque, Montreal in 2007-2008. Her video works have been widely shown and have won awards in France and internationally. One of her major works, 'Je peux changer mais pas à 100%' (2019) won awards including Prix du Centre Pompidou for festival Si Cinéma #2 (2021), Prix de la Fondation de France , Prix premio dia de cinema Festival FilMadrid (2019), and Festival Vision du Réel (2019), Nyon, Switzerland. The film is acquired by Frac Il-de-France.