<div class="chapeau">LE MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS PRÉSENTE « URBAN RIDERS » DE JANVIER À AVRIL 2018, PREMIÈRE EXPOSITION INSTITUTIONNELLE
EN FRANCE DE MOHAMED BOUROUISSA (NÉ EN 1978 EN ALGÉRIE). L’OEUVRE <i>DEALING WITH…</i> DE LA COLLECTION PINAULT Y ÉTAIT MONTRÉE POUR LA PREMIÈRE FOIS.</div>
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<span class="lieu">Musée d’Art moderne</span><br>
<span class="lieu">de la Ville de Paris</span>
<span class="title">MOHAMED BOUROUISSA</span><br>
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<span>Curator and art critic</span>
<span class="alinea"></span> <i>“The first time I saw Martha Camarillo’s photographs of the horseback riders of Fletcher Street, I decided
that I wanted to meet these men. At the beginning, I wanted to make a western, then I realized that just making a film was
enough. I wanted to make something stronger.”</i><sup>1</sup>
<span class="alinea"></span> Fascinated by the images published by Martha Camarillo in her book <i>Fletcher Street,</i> Bourouissa traveled to Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood to
meet black American horseriders of the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club. For eight months the artist watched, filmed, and photographed them. Once he had become
part of their crew, he suggested that they organize a pageant, to be called Horse Day. On Horse Day, artists from different neighborhoods were invited to create
ornaments and regalia for the horses. For the series “ The Hood” (2015), Bourouissa then reproduced his photographs of the event on car parts.
<span class="alinea"></span> He also uses footage from Horse Day in the video <i>Dealing with…</i>(2015), projected on the hood of a car. He shows, in close up, an anxious, nervous horse pawing
at the ground, while, off-screen, two men negotiate his sale. The artist evokes the precariousness of this marginalized community, with its specific codes, rules, and rituals.
By using car parts, Bourouissa combines two symbols of American culture and, more specifically, of Philadelphia: the rider and the driver, the horse and the car.
Taken as either an encounter or a confrontation, it is most importantly a way, for the artist, to articulate his attitude toward this environment: <i>“I deliberately chose a French,
rather than American, car. It’s a way for me to gain critical distance from the subject,”</i> he explains. <i>“The car hood dominates the scene. It’s a filter, but is more than that: it’s
the main thing that the viewer sees, rather than the subject of the video itself. I had to find a means of positioning myself in relation to a world to which I don’t belong.”</i><sup>2</sup>
<span class="alinea"></span> This approach is characteristic of Bourouissa’s work: he typically establishes a protocol that allows him to convey an impression of his subject, rather than attempting to
reproduce it more directly. He plays with mirroring effects, distortions, angles and reverse angles, planes and volumes, curves and flows, to create on-screen a flood of
discontinuous, fragmented images.
<span class="alinea"></span> In <i>Dealing with…,</i> he highlights the tension at the core of this community, ignored and disdained by the government and public authorities. Without exhausting
its subject, the group of works created by Bourouissa in Philadelphia, including this video, is sharply evocative of a number of issues related to African American
culture, rap, and the representation of minorities, and refers to the rich history of depictions of horses and the riders throughout Western art, the cult of the western,
and the phenomenon of the “white cowboy.” As with the series “Périphérique” (2005–09), in which he explored
stereotypes of the French <i>banlieue,</i> Bourouissa here reflects on contemporary societal realities: identity and otherness, the circulation of myths and gestures, the
media and public authorities.
1 — Author interview with the artist, December 2, 2017.<br>
2 — <i>Ibid.</i>