Chisenhale Gallery presents a major new commission and the first solo exhibition in an institution by artist Lydia Ourahmane. Comprising installation, sculpture and sound, Ourahmane’s exhibition continues her ongoing engagement with the emotional, psychological and political charge of material and place.
Informed by personal encounters, Ourahmane’s work raises questions surrounding systems of exchange and dissemination. Recurring throughout her work is the impulse to address acts of displacement, in which allegories of absence and removal evoke wider issues of place and migration. In The Third Choir (2014-15) the blunt physical presence of twenty used and empty oil barrels is of equal importance as the recorded process of their transport across international borders. Ourahmane’s installation All the way up to the Heavens and down to the depths of Hell (2017), exhibited recently as part of the 15th Istanbul Biennial presents a provisional concrete and steel structure, referencing the precarious nature of land and property rights. Visited intermittently by a solitary trumpet player’s eerie melody, the work reflects on environmental degradation and loss of public space.
For her exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery Ourahmane explores immigration and displacement in relation to her personal history. Influenced by time spent living and working from her family home in Oran, Algeria, Ourahmane’s new body of work investigates acts of transformation through sonic, sculptural and atmospheric registers.
Central to the exhibition is a large acoustic installation comprised of a bass-driven sound piece, vibrating metal and stone, which slowly deconstructs throughout the duration of the exhibition. Other works within the exhibition resonate through the cause and effect between materials, the audience and Ourahmane herself.
Explored through a non-linguistic approach to narrative – such as the use of deep listening and visceral engagement – Ourahmane implements both her own body and the body of the viewer to ask questions including, how is localised trauma felt on a collective level and how is empathy experienced, lived and embodied? Explored in relation to Ourahmane’s own subjectivity and political agency, this major body of work pursues lived experience as matter and as form.
Lydia Ourahmane (b. 1992, Saϊda, Algeria) lives and works between London and Oran. Exhibitions include: 2018 New Museum Triennial, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (forthcoming 2018); a good neighbour, 15th Istanbul Biennial; How to Disappear Completely, Garage Rotterdam, Netherlands (all 2017); The end of the World, Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, Italy; Social Calligraphies, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; that a body knows regardless, Interstate Projects, New York (all 2016); The Third Choir, Art Berlin Contemporary, Berlin; Territoires Arabes, Palais de La Culture, Algeria; (all 2015); and Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2014).
Lydia Ourahmane’s exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery is supported by the Arab Foundation for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and Mophradat Aisbl Grants for Artists. With additional support from Joe and Marie Donnelly and the Lydia Ourahmane Supporters Circle.
Chisenhale Gallery’s Commissions Programme 2017-19 is supported by the LUMA Foundation.
Chisenhale Gallery’s Curatorial Trainee Programme 2016-18 is supported by Sirine and Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh.