Maïmouna Guerresi: Aisha In Wonderland

19 April - 2 June 2018

Aisha in Wonderland is an allegorical journey that centers around themes dear to Guerresi and links to the charm and the value of the mystic and veiled body’s diversity. It is the representation of the spiritually strong woman who, through her own identity, is able to dissolve the distinctions present between the masculine and feminine genres, leaving aside the stereotypes linked to Islam.
For over twenty years, Guerresi’s poetic work has been about empowering women, bringing together individuals and cultures in an appreciation for the shared humanity that transcends psychological, cultural, and political borders. The exhibition developed around the concept of inner identity and communication, as the importance of freedom of expression, a narrative path, where video works, photographs and installations alternate.
The different dimensions of the photographic works and their position in the exhibition space recall the proportions of Alice in the famous novel in which she becomes big or small depending on her meetings and experiences. Here Aisha does not appear as the protagonist of this visual narration, but as the gaze through which the observer manages to access an inner and hidden universe.
Her new series deals with the theme of equilibrium through a metaphysical and surreal interpretative key, articulated by means of two different techniques: the sculptural installation and the photographic installation. The protagonists of the photographs walk or stop in unusual spaces, appropriating new physical and spiritual faculties.
In Kadija’s Minbar, the protagonist points to a distant point in space with a long branch. The moment of elevation from a wooden structure recalls the Minbar, a pulpit where the sermons take place in mosques -- a space specifically dedicated to the male imam and denied to women. These characters are a metaphor for the idea of identity, which in this work has been re-envisioned on the basis of spatial, cultural, and linguistic coordinates that transcend geographical boundaries. In addition to the photographic works, the installation of the black and white carpets will be exhibited, along the video entitled ​Nar​ (which translates to “fire” in Arabic).
This video features a fireworks display during a village party the artist recorded a few years ago. The display occurred near a bell tower that resembled a Minaret. The scene through her eyes became spectacular and dramatic as it was filmed roughly leaving the impression of war reportage.
Guerresi deliberately chose to mount the video in reverse mode as if the fireworks would withdraw.

Moreover, in the editing of the video at a certain point the noises become more and more attenuated until they reach a silence softly interrupted by the beautiful voice of the Muezzin which recalls the prayer, thus making the scene surreal and metaphysical.