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Art April, 6 2010

VidéoStudio: New Work from France at The Studio Museum in Harlem

Open through June 27, 2010 at The Studio Museum in Harlem, VideoStudio highlights the work of three North African artists (born in or living in France) working with video.

About VideoStudio -

In a trio of month-long programs, the Studio Museum presents the work of three North African artists—Yto Barrada, Bouchra Khalili and Djamel Kokene—who were born or currently live in France. While these artists emerge from a specific Afro-European context, the exhibition brings together work that considers “France”—and the very idea of the nation—as a concept rather than a stable category. Together their work encourages us to consider the relationship between individuals and the state; culture and the law; and identity and modes of representation. VidéoStudio: New Work from France is the second installment of VideoStudio, an ongoing series of video art.

Barrada, Khalili and Kokene use the immediacy and transience of film and video to question conceptions of cinematic form, national identity and statelessness. Each artist reinterprets techniques drawn from artistic genres including guerilla theater, documentary film and narrative storytelling. Yto Barrada (b. 1971) recounts narratives of individuals—botanists, smugglers and magicians—and specific places, such as gardens and vacant lots. She addresses issues of postcolonial power in Morocco, where she lives and works. Bouchra Khalili (b. 1975) follows the stories of contemporary migrants as they navigate geographic and psychological landscapes. Her subjects are made discernible only through overheard conversations, maps and urban panoramas. Djamel Kokene (b. 1968) stages site-specific interventions in spaces such as museums and workshops, and records these performances on video. For the artist, the performances and videos of them each function as individual works, a move that tests the boundaries of media specificity and the limits of the artist’s role in contemporary society.

VideoStudio was inaugurated in fall 2008 to foster critical engagement with video, digital and new media practices.

More stills from the exhibited videos after the jump.

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