From 6 July to 23 September 2023 you can visit the exhibition of Lydia Ourahmane, an artist who makes us see the essence of the gallery Ordet through her site-specific installation. Brian O’Doherty, in Inside The White Cube (2012) states: “Once completed by the withdrawal of all manifest content, the gallery becomes the zero degree of space, subject to infinite mutations. The gestures that activate it in all its parts can force its implicit content to manifest itself. That content goes in two directions: it expresses opinions on the art within it, with respect to which it is contextual; and it comments on the wider context – the street, the city, the money, the business – that contains it”. Michael Asher in 1973 scraped the plaster from the walls and ceilings of the Franco Toselli gallery to show its original structure. A year later he had the dividing wall between the exhibition space and the office demolished, so that everyone could enjoy the mechanism behind the contemporary art system.
Lydia Ourahmane, in our day, knocks down the plasterboard that separates the warehouse from the exhibition venue to show us what is the historical legacy of the gallery. If in Barzakh, commissioned by the Kunsthalle of Basel in 2021, the feeling of discomfort that is felt in being in the intimacy of a private home intensified, in Polvere discomfort becomes curiosity and revelation. The artistic practice of Lydia Ourahmane, born in 1992 in Saϊda in Algeria, speaks to us of multiple temporalities and stories not heard. Explore the boundary and spirituality of a space. He works with site-specific installations, able to free the sacred from the context, found as he listens to the breath and the experience. The artist ranges from video to sound, from performance to returns on a monumental scale. Ourahmane challenges the mechanisms and devices that are at the base of the institutions and almost seeks their natural and original side.
His objective, in the exhibition at the Ordet gallery in Milan, is the search for a link between the artists previously exhibited, linking them to the vacuum left. A void that resembles a perforated and scattered quarry, which today can only preserve its shortcomings. From this deprivation of its essence remains an echo. The gallery, on the other hand, accumulates over time layers and walls that tend to hide this essence until it changes completely. The artist undresses the Ordet gallery by making sure that it takes back its origins, through the new and previous exhibitions, create a sort of migration of events. However, his work does not destroy or conceal any part of the structure. On the contrary, it recovers and merges the materials passed to build, starting from what it finds, as Michelangelo did in the marble quarry of the Apuan Alps looking for the raw material suitable for the facade of the church of San Lorenzo, in Florence.
The artist makes us compare with a wooden platform that can be activated with the steps, bringing us back inside that deposed quarry. The speakers placed inside the walls amplify the noises created by the spectator who, amused, begins to step on the platform returning to the moments of his childhood and the primordial dances. But what remains is an echo, albeit interactive, and a feeling of emptiness that lends itself to be increasingly evident. The more the echo becomes noise, the more the space becomes defenseless and perceptible to our senses. We can connect even without it retaining any more naturalness, but only the human fragility and invasiveness of the intervention. Having removed the casings, its expectations and its contradictions, the gallery returns to be a place of wonder, exposing its past history.
Lydia Ourahmane extracts and studies the matter of the same locality, thus containing the heritage that over time becomes sediment. We find it altered, but nothing is discarded, since it is part of the exhibition process. The gallery, naked and sacralized, now shows what it preserves and what we do not know. The artist gives us the opportunity to observe for the first time the political and economic mechanisms that underlie the seats of contemporary art, making the space turn quarry, or returns to its primitive stage.
Lydia Ourahmane, Polvere
06/07/2023 – 23/09/2023
via Adige 17, Milan
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