Curators Marta Gili and Marie Bertran are bringing the Tunisian artist Ismail Bahri to an institutional level by showcasing his video-based works in an exhibition entitled Instruments at Paris's Jeu de Paume, although his oeuvre also incorporates installation, drawing and painting. Through a highlighted selection of eight videos – three of which were made especially for the occasion – visitors will be able to witness how the artist’s inspiration derives from the mundane.
Carefully picking moments from daily life, Bahri focuses on the relationships and actions that are more process than result based – for example, the way a drop of water placed on the skin responds to its arterial pulsations, how a thread is manipulated as it is sewn, or fibres of paper as they become saturated with ink. By zooming in to create a broad-picture perspective of minutiae, Instruments simultaneously and delicately abstracts the very actions it describes.
As scientific as it is poetic, Bahri’s observations of micro-events acquire an enigmatic element that encourages the public to take a longer glance at the oft overlooked. Through a concise selection of works, the curators are confident the exhibition will illuminate the main concerns that resonate throughout Bahri’s body of work, from fundamentals, duration, scale and transformation, through to invisibility and mystery.
Reminiscent of the theatrical or cinematic influences that Bahri also absorbs, the exhibition poses questions about the permeability of art in the contemporary world, performing artistic experiments that stem from elusive ephemeral organic origins.
Instruments runs 13 June-24 September at Jeu de Paume, Paris, France. For more information visit jeudepaume.org