page : 10 | chapter : 3 | volume : 16


“The Unbearable Likeness not only encompasses Benchamma’s prolific oeuvre and techniques, but also includes a colossal installation made of torn walls, which defies the gallery’s architecture and the traditional model of a ‘white cube’. Playing with the design of the exhibition space where the permanent stand-alone white walls and lighting equipment are exposed, the artist produces a mise en abyme, an exhibition within the exhibition”

Graduating from a fine arts and design university, I can say that I never had interest in assisting artists with their work. I’m glad that I did now; I learned more about how hard these artists work to make their exhibitions happen the way they envision them.

This month, I got the chance to work with Abdelkader Benchamma, a French artist of Algerian origins whose work revolves around collisions, momentum and theories (be it scientific or political). He uses an array of tools and mediums to express his thoughts – ranging from ink, charcoal, felt markers, canvases and cardboard – and possibly a marriage between some. Abdelkader is a recipient of the Paris-based The Drawing Now Prize, he was also nominated for the Le Meurice Prize in 2015. (source)

This was his second time holding his solo exhibition at Gallery IVDE and thankfully, I had the honor to participate in the preparation and witness the process in person. Although very fast paced, there was a burst of liveliness and energy in the atmosphere and excitement in trying to accomplish things before due time. The experience of working hands-on with a professional fine artist inspired me to break out of my paradigm and look at things from different angles. As an illustrator myself, I was really happy to learn some techniques that will help improve my future work.

Curator of the show, Yasmina Reggad is an independent curator, writer and researcher based between London and Athens, and works in London, Algiers and Athens. She holds an MA in Middle Ages History from the Sorbonne University and is currently Programme Curator at aria (artist residency in algiers) and curator of Art Dubai Projects 2016. Reggad’s research focuses on the politics of futurity, alternative models of art education, and explores performative methodologies inspired by dance and performance notations. (source) I had the pleasure of meeting Yasmina and briefly talking to her. She’s a young and bright spirit with a strong eye for patterns and composition in the field of contemporary art.

The exhibition has a play on angles and vision – focusing on creating optical illusions through a juxtaposition of 3D elements and flat illustrations. The photos cannot do Abdelkader’s work justice; The Unbearable Likeness creates an atmosphere that allows visitors to feel more engaged with the artist’s work.

On another note: the exhibition will run until 5 May. Head down to Alserkal Avenue to Gallery IVDE to try out the experience in person!

Disclaimer: All of the displayed images and sourced text are courtesy of Abdelkader Benchamma and Gallery IVDE and are used for illustrative purposes only.

Dubai, Al Quoz 1, Alserkal Avenue, Unit 17
Gallery: 10am – 7pm (Sat – Thu),
+9714 323 5052
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3a0809d4bf524856f59a310547ec8ba0Song: Promise – Akira Yamaoka

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