Project Description

NEÏL BELOUFA

from 17th February 2021 to 9th January 2022 – Space: SHED

“Digital Mourning” is the first solo show by Neïl Beloufa held in an Italian institution. The exhibition brings together numerous videos that range from the beginning of the artist’s career to recent productions, and presents them inside sculptural and multimedia environments. Starting with the title, the exhibition alludes to one of the paradoxes of contemporary reality: the existence inside a technological world and its concurrent disappearance. The association of the terms “digital” and “mourning” sheds light on the duality between reality and what is simulated using artificial models that emulate life. Made specifically for Pirelli HangarBicocca’s Shed space, Beloufa’s intervention is a fluid system of activation and recomposition of works, realized by the turning on and off of moving images, sounds, colors, and lights, in an intertwining of themes and narratives that prevent possible hierarchies or positions of authority.

CREDITS
Location: Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano
Artist: Neïl Beloufa
Exhibition: “Digital Mourning”
Allestiment: curated by Roberta Tenconi
Engineering: MOSAE srl
Photo: Agostino Osio
Courtesy: Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milano
Pictures in slideshow: from the exhibition

HOST A – TRYING TO REACH OUT TO ITS AUDIENCE

Colored in blue and with various signs defining its character, host A tries to seduce the viewer by presenting its favorite works in the show.

HOST B – TRYING TO REACH OUT TO ITS AUDIENCE

Through stereotypes and characterized by the color yellow, host B transmits its experience on the works by giving orders.

HOST C – TRYING TO REACH OUT TO ITS AUDIENCE

Marked in red, host C—unlike the critical positions of the others—plays ironically and with a more superficial attitude on commenting the works.

People’s passion, transparency, mobility, all surrounded by water, 2018

Projected on a structured kinetic sculpture composed of transparent Plexiglas panels mounted on a metal frame that moves along a rail, the images in People’s passion, lifestyle, beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water are seen layered and fragmented on different levels. A secluded monitor in a corner shows the interviews. The display modes used by the artist call to mind television formats of consumer programs, while the transparent structure suggests the modernist architecture in the urban landscape described in the video. The sculpture also heightens the idea of artificiality, thereby creating an interplay of refractions and illusions with the surrounding environment.

Global Agreement, 2018

Global Agreement addresses some of the central issues in Beloufa’s poetics: the military world with armies subtended by the logic of violence, and aspects of the cult of the body and physical care associated with power structures. The work is composed of a series of sculptural installations recalling gym benches and equipment, on which are shown interviews conducted by Beloufa with male and female members of armies from around the world. It thus focuses on the reasons why the interviewees became soldiers and investigates their daily habits. The subjects discussed range from life on military bases and the emotions felt during action in the field to the most significant experiences they had in the army.

Data for Desire (Rationalized room series), 2015

This installation from 2015 is presented as a three-dimensional drawing made entirely of tubular metal wire that creates a structure similar to the silhouette of a house interior. Inside this hypothetical domestic setting is a screen that shows the images of the two stories told in the video Data for Desire (2015).

World Domination, 2012

The video World Domination (2012) is projected onto the irregular and motorized surface of a 2015 sculpture with the same title. It develops around five imaginary tables that represent different countries, whose heads and officials of government are involved in a discussion in an attempt to solve social problems afflicting their state. The structure on which the video is projected deforms the images, creating a sinister yet fragile atmosphere.

La morale de l’histoire, 2019/2021

Conceived as a techno-fairytale, La morale de l’histoire (2019) is an immersive installation in which sculptures, projections, texts and sounds combine to generate rhythms and textures that seem to elude the dimension of reality. Written by the artist himself, the narrative features imaginary figures derived from both classical and children’s mythology, and generates an environment in which technological devices and traditional idioms intersect. The work has been presented in numerous settings, including the Venice Biennale and gallery exhibitions, each time with different approaches and forms. The version shown in Pirelli HangarBicocca is the largest and most complex evolution of the installation. It features a vast space populated by sculptures, elements resembling sand dunes, and low-reliefs on the walls similar to landscapes.