Lydia Ourahmane’s works often begin as grand, open propositions that find the limits of the possible in the political, environmental and metaphysical conditions in which she operates. Lydia Ourahmane: Tassili is an engagement with a distant desert, how and why we travel there, and the conditions of image production. Specifically, it is the Tassili n’Ajjer, a largely inaccessible plateau near the border between southeastern Algeria and Libya that is home to thousands of prehistoric engravings and rock paintings that depict the transformation of the life in the Sahara over thousands of years. Scenes of conflict and ritual submit to a radically altered ecological landscape, once a fertile “river bed,” as the translation of its name suggests, and now a barren and inhospitable desert expanse. Ourahmane and a group of collaborators have traveled this region on foot to produce a new work of moving images, also titled Tassili, and put together 3D scans which then informed a new sculpt. Sharpening the contradictions of pilgrimage, tourism, archeology and extraction, and the complexities of the artist’s own position as a visitor to the site, Ourahman’s exhibition subsumes an encounter with a hypnotic array of this imagery – of ancient demons, aliens and lost rivers and forests – while moving through a place that is crumbling and measuring the severity of time.
Collaborators of Ourahmane include Abdou Ali Aissa, Sophia Al-Maria, Berka Ayoub, Yuma Burgess, Alana Mejía González, Ahmed Hamid, Djamel Hamid, Moussa Hamid, Hiba Ismail, Ismail Machar, Moussa Machar, Mohammed, Idriss Machar, Jacob Oommen and Isabel Valli.
The film is scored in four movements like an exquisite corpse by Nicolás Jaar, Felicita, Yawning Portal and Sega Bodega, with sound mastery by Joe Ware. It is edited by Robert Fox with photography by Alana Mejía González and Jacob Oommen, animation by Yuma Burgess, and color by Nadia Khairat. Production direction by Khaled Bouzidi and Yanis Ouabadi. Research assistance by Sarah Ourahmane. Graphic design by Collin Fletcher. Special thanks to the Algerian Ministry of Culture and Arts and the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park.
Lydia Ourahmane (born in 1992 in Saïda, Algeria) is an artist based in Algiers and Barcelona. Tassili is his first institutional solo exhibition in New York. Ourahman’s practice spans spirituality, contemporary geopolitics, migration and histories of colonialism. Recent solo exhibitions include: Survival in the afterlifePortikus, Frankfurt, and De Appel, Amsterdam (2021); BarzakhKunsthalle Basel and Triangle—Astérides, Marseille (2021); solar cry, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2020); and The you in us, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2018). With her collaborator Alex Ayed, she presented LAWS OF CONFUSIONRenaissance Society, Chicago (2021) and was included in Let’s risk it allWIELS Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels (2020).
The exhibition is curated by Kyle Dancewicz, Deputy Director of the SculptureCenter.
The new moving image work of Lydia Ourahmane Tassili, 2022, is commissioned and produced by SculptureCenter, New York; rhizome, Algiers; Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis; Mercer Union, Toronto; and Nottingham Contemporary.
Lydia Ourahmane: Tassili is organized in partnership with B7L9 Art Station, Tunis, where it will travel in spring 2023. Presentations of Ourahmane’s video work are planned in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary (autumn 2022); the Open space Louis Vuitton Foundation program, Paris (fall 2022); Mercer Union, Toronto (Fall 2022); and rhizome, Algiers (winter 2023).
Commissioning support for Lydia Ourahmane: Tassili is provided by VIA Art Fund.
The new moving image work of Lydia Ourahmane Tassili2022, is made possible by Valeria Napoleone XX SculptureCenter (VNXXSC).
Additional support for Lydia Ourahmane: Tassili is provided by the Kamel Lazaar Foundation and the Harpo Foundation. Research support was provided by Mophradat. In-kind support for the exhibition is provided by Genelec.
Support for the direction of SculptureCenter exhibitions and programs is provided by Carol Bove, Lee Elliott and Robert K. Elliott, Jill and Peter Kraus, The Anna-Maria Foundation and Stephen Kellen, Barbara and Andrew Gundlach, Jacques Louis Vidal, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, Eleanor Heyman Propp, Libby and Adrian Ellis, Benoit Bosc and Torsten Schlauersbach, Jamie Singer Soros and Robert Soros, Candy and Michael Barasch, Sanford Biggers, Jane Hait and Justin Beal, and Amy and Sean Lyons.