Kunstverein Nürnberg

Sonia Kacem

07 Feb - 26 Apr 2015

© Sonia Kacem
Loulou replay, Installation view, Kunstverein Nürnberg, 2015
Courtesy the artist & Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zürich / Zurich. Photo: Annette Kradisch.
Loulou replay
7 February - 26 April 2015

With Loulou Replay, the Tunesian-Swiss artist Sonia Kacem (b. 1985, Geneva) is presenting her first solo exhibition in Germany at the Kunstverein Nürnberg.

Sonia Kacem’s works are characterized by a sensitive exploration of materials from our quotidian environment, including domestic fabrics, industrial materials, and waste products. She adapts their tactility and materiality and places them in sculptural arrangements, in which the dramaturgy between colors and forms plays an important role. Using materials that she sometimes finds and sometimes produces herself, Kacem creates processual tableaux vivants in the exhibition space that often recall industrial workshops, recycling centers, or warehouses for products.

The attributions of her settings thus always remain open, and they also open up an associative space of tensions that brings into focus the ways materials are manifested and used in our culture. The changing perception of the materials and forms that have entered in daily life from other cultures combine with fundamental questions of appropriation, imitation, and repetition.

In the Kunstverein Nürnberg’s large gallery space, Sonia Kacem presents a continuation of her installation Loulou, which was first shown last year at the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Geneva. The title refers to the short story Un cœur simple (1877) by the French writer Gustave Flaubert, who in preparation for his novels traveled in the Middle East especially in Egypt in the mid–nineteenth century. In Un cœur simple, the author described the complex relationship between the main protagonist, Félicité, and the parrot “Loulou”, who, initially alive and then stuffed, becomes an “uncanny” object of her love.

With this connection to the exotic bird, Kacem is addressing her observations about motifs from the Orient and how they have been taken up in art, literature, and architecture against the backdrop of postcolonialism. The adoptions of these forms, which from the perspective of Western cultural history are still often associated with the mysterious and unlimited, are also reflected in the geometric pyramidal objects, whose wood-and-metal stands are covered with various textiles. The selection of their colors, materials, and patterns borrow from functional textiles for the outdoors, such as fabrics for parasols and awnings but especially the taffeta or muslin cloth that is often found in interior spaces.

The placement of the sculptures produces a chaotic, unstructured movement within the New Objectivity architecture of the Milchhof building, in which the Kunstverein is located. The viewers have to establish a direct spatial relationship to the objects and fabrics, thus making them part of an orchestrated dynamic. The relationship to Minimalism, in which human-sized objects, usually composed of rigid materials, create a new, concreate space-time structure, is broken down by Kacem through the use of flexible, familiar-looking textiles: the encounter with Loulou opens up a place of thoughts that calls to mind such temporary and adaptable sites as a campground, a fair, or a snack bar on the beach.

Sonia Kacem (b. 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland; lives in Geneva) studies at the Haute école d’art et de design in Geneva and at the CCW Graduate School, University of the Arts in London. Solo exhibitions (selection): Neue Kunst Halle St. Gallen (2015); Manor Art Prize exhibition, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva (2014); Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich (2013); La Rada, Locarno, Switzerland (2013); T293, Rome (2013). Group exhibitions (Selection): Autocenter, Berlin (2014); Miart, Milan (2014); Aanant&Zoo, Berlin (2013); Swiss Art Awards, Basel, Switzerland (2013); Sommer&Kohl, Berlin (2012); Bucharest Biennale 4, Bucharest (2011)

In parallel with Sonia Kacem’s installation, the Kunstverein Nürnberg is presenting the solo exhibition Young Team by Lea von Winzingerode, in connection with the Marianne-Defet-Malerei-Stipendium.

Tags: Sonia Kacem