conceptual photography, contemporary art

Mohamed Bourouissa, Le Miroir/The Mirror (2006)

November 7, 2010

This is not what you expect to see when you look in a mirror. Yet all visual art is surely a reflection of the artist and, if it resonates, the viewer.

Mohamed Bourouissa works with young adults from beyond the periphique in Paris, les banlieues. And despite showing life in a culturally excluded zone, this photo does resonate.

Here you can apparently see a gang meeting. Certainly it is not a meeting you would want to interrupt with a polite enquiry as to the agenda. If nothing else, the wall of backs will keep you out.

So the viewer is excluded, just as those present here might find it difficult to access a gallery private view. Such breezy soirees may be no less an expression of power and menace as the pow-wows which take place on rooftop car parks.

The perfect double image in the pool of rainwater seems to be making a point.

This scene is also a dramatisation, an enactment staged for the camera. These youths have agreed to take part in a work of art, just as the viewer has agreed to engage with it. So the mirror is also closer than you might think.

This photo is taken from the series Les Périphéries and can be seen as part of New Ways of Looking at the former Co-operative Department Store, Brighton, until 14 November 2010. For more details please see the website of Brighton Photo Biennial.

2 Comments

  • Reply jotta November 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Karen incorporates mirrors in his photographs and this idea of reflection too, a perfect parallel to this work
    http://KarenGrainger.jotta.com
    He is currently exhibiting his work too!

    • Reply Mark Sheerin November 19, 2010 at 12:39 am

      Thanks for the interesting link. I’ll look out for Karen’s work at Crane Kalman in Brighton next year.

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