Kamel Mennour

Marie Bovo

15 May - 14 Jun 2008


Kamel Mennour is pleased to present “Bab-El-Louk”, Marie Bovo’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
During the spring of 2006, Marie Bovo installed her camera on the rooftop of an apartment block in Cairo’s Bab-El-Louk neighbourhood, in the heart of the Egyptian capital. With it, she took ten photographs, at different times of the day and night. In each one, the framing and viewpoint are roughly the same: apartment blocks seem to be piled on top of each other, and there is no horizon in sight, leading us to believe that the city might stretch out forever.
Each image shows us a different landscape consisting of the same rubblecovered flat roofs, and buildings that might be in ruins, or merely in the process of being built. Below them, the same anarchic labyrinth of streets unravels. However, the sun’s trajectory and the variable intensity of the urban lightscape throws fluctuating shadows that sculpturally remodel the neighbourhood, giving it an infinite number of facets. Dawn rises over a landscape blanketed in a snow-like white dust, as if frozen by a nuclear winter. Soon, the all-consuming midday sun has taken hold. But later on, at 4.42pm, the sun stunningly highlights the rare patches of colour scattered across this mineral veduta: a red carpet hanging out of a window; a rooftop garden, where a man is about to water the perennials, is the only visible trace of life in this desolate landscape. Then the sun sets, the city awakens, the lights in people’s homes are lit, and the streets flow like rivers of fire.
With the Egyptian series Bab-El-Louk, Marie Bovo examines the world from on high, as when, a few years previously, she photographed a nocturnal Tokyo from the Mori Tower. But she also freezes and splits up portions of time, of continuance. This is reminiscent of her photos of Marseille beaches, where the waves, captured in the interval separating the opening and closing of the shutter, never stop rolling. In the same vein, Bab-El-Louk uses circular time: everything will start over again tomorrow, because the earth is round, and these ten images – photographs of a non-event – compel us very simply to contemplate a universal time, which, while placing all humans on an equal footing, does not exhaust them with the rhythm of its repetitions.
The work of Marie Bovo has recently been shown at Luis Serpa Projectos in Lisbon, the Saint-Cyprien collections, the Ateliers de la Ville de Marseille, the Marseille Mac, and at the ERA Foundation in Moscow. In the summer of 2008, Marie Bovo will present one of her recent piece in the Organisation Porte Avion in Marseille.
Richard Leydier, April 2008
Translation: James Curwen

Tags: Marie Bovo