Karim Ghelloussi  /  Un isthme à Montréal

Karim Ghelloussi's sculptural practice is based on the association of disparate objects that he assembles together to deliver a poetic proposition. When placed in relation to each other, the forms and meanings of these contrasting elements result in a dialogue between the differing elements. Every object references and symbolizes something different. The result of the juxtaposing and merging is a sense of instability, a clash, and a rare meeting that often leads to a double meaning and a play with words. Ghelloussi's work is composed mainly of found or prefabricated objects that he reinterprets by adding an element of wood, a shelf or pedestal that he builds himself.

The balance between form and meaning are a fundamental aspect to Ghelloussi's work. He creates an imbalance, a disjunction, by destabilizing the composition that is often too stable and predictable. He seeks to find neutrality in the forms and their meanings, as well as in the act of creating Ð or destructing Ð the prefabricated, the full and the vacant, the widths and heights. By keeping the final composition in suspense, the work conveys a sense of the unfinished and incomplete, thus allowing it to exist freely between two worlds.

Un Isthme à Montréal brings together a series of five sculptures:
L'air des Alpes (2004) is an enigmatic piece that was initiated by the discovery of a damaged puzzle of a mountainous landscape. Ghelloussi connects the puzzle to a plateau of multiple landscapes with a dead tree branch; above it a nest is perched, reminding us of a television antenna. This astounding sculpture, in the style of "exquisite corpse", plays with the objects' intrinsic symbolism and reveals an interpretation guided by intuition rather than formalism.

By putting the various components of "P" at risk, the artist seeks to create a sense of tension, a counter-proposition with a "mise en scène" a priori comforting, to communicate the idea that everything is in flux, and risks coming to an end. Similar to the pedestals holding "À la foule du haut d'une plateforme", "R.A.S.D." and "Demain dur encore", seem to be prostheses, the artist places emphasis on the accidental in order to enhance the sense of instability and disjuncture. Moreover, the systematic tearing of the pictorial surface created by the shredded posters of "À la foule..." is suggestive of a latent violence.

To complement the sculptures, two mural pieces are also exhibited: one is taken from the series of drawings "amalgame" and originates from a found image. The character in black has his back turned to the exhibition and evokes an eventual transition from the real world into the imaginary world. The second piece, the artist has partially contoured the shape of a maple leaf on a black canvas, and titled it Black Flag, in reference to the Canadian flag but also to that of the Moorish and pirates. This statement affirms his position as an anarchist who rejects the classification or assimilation of his work to any definite current artistic trends.

Karim Ghelloussi

Karim Ghelloussi is a French artist based in Nice. After his studies at Villa Arson, he presented his first large scale exhibition in 2003. In 2004, he completed a residency at Arques followed by an exhibition at the Zadkine Museum. Since 2004, his work has been represented by the Catherine Issert Gallery of Saint-Paul de Vence. It was during his residency at Quartier Ephemere in 2003 that this exhibition was scheduled.