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Superlatives and Resolutions

31/05 2014 – 26/06 2014

Mendes Wood DM is pleased to present Superlatives and Resolutions, the first solo exhibition of French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa in Brazil. The show is a singular combination of various pieces Neïl Beloufa has reorganized in relation to the exhibition space. The artist here has build an multi-layered piece that takes the form of a modular environment. One of the principal structures, made in steel, is composed by heterogeneous rough and ready materials such as plywood and plexiglass, plastic films, grids but also hand made glamourous objets in clay and elegant images on paper. Technical material is also taking part in the display – videoprojectors, speakers and recorders are not only extras, but showing moving images, by spreading sound, they are no longer mere supports, rather they build another narrative that connects and disconnects, at the same time, the materiality of the whole space. In fact, the modular structure has the potential of a stage where fact and fiction can be intermingled. While, at the same time, the multidimensional landscape creates a necessary discrepancy to understand the utopian and dystopian aspects contained in Beloufa's practice.

One of the integral works on view is the video entitled People’s passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water: the superlative high resolution be. Filmed in 2013 in Vancouver, the 10 minute loop video feature interviews with people who seem to be normal folks on the street. With a very pleasant audio athmosphere composed with trendy electro-style music and birdsong, the interviewed residents relate their personal versions of an ideal city that is never named. 

The realistic nature of the film gives the spectator a first impression of pleasure: it feels like watching backpacker's documentary on Channel Explorer showing all the goodness around the world. Rolling parks, waterfalls, glass towers and stadium, the light and mirrored surfaces constructed by our highly civilised countries look having a new appearence by being connected to the physical armature of the piece and the different layers of it's transparency. Throught the process of repetition, the artist's footage, showing high-rise appartments, beautiful pathways with cyclists and pedestrians, grows a certain suspicion. And the paradise turned slowly artificial, dreams replaced by lies.

By doing this, Beloufa confronts the visitor with his awarness. Disjointed stories without coherent narrative blur the orchestration, and the spectators’ visuals standards are faced with their own pre-conceived ideas. Even the display becomes a doubt and its vernacular aspects appear through the global morphology of the installation. 

To reinforce this permanent confusion between object and subject, reality and fiction, global and local, Beloufa shows two others video works that emphasize the general multi-layered semantic of the exhibition. One of those is called World Domination (2012) and again it subverts the conventions of the movie and documentary genre by manipulating and twisting the narrative. In this film, non-professionnals actors play geopolitical roles such as president, first ministers and military chiefs of fictivs countries while having important and almost improvised discussion about the world's future.

Once again Beloufa's films trace diverging paths that constantly challenge the viewer’s expectations. Shrouded in ambiguities and uncertainties, his work explores the increasingly blurred line between fact and fiction while celebrating the world of conspiracy theories and storytelling. 

Neïl Beloufa was born 1985. He lives and works in Paris. The artist recent solo shows include: Hammer Museum Los Angeles (2013); Kunstraum Innsbruck, Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012), Functions of Light, Balice Hertling & Lewis, New York; Balice Hertling & Lewis, New-York (2012), Kunsthaus Glarus (2011), New Museum (2011). Group shows include: La Biennale de Lyon (2013), Cleveland Art Museum; 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, Venice (2013); wiener Secession 11th Baltic triennale, CAC, Vilnus, (2012). 

– Estelle Nabeyrat

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