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1 39b0abf9df 6bf6f3f03f Ae2ba2839f Afb42de0ca Neil_beloufa_3 20110111121426-neil_beloufa_5 20110506084521-_mg_2238 20110506084713-_v1e4752_0
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
Neilbeloufa
, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Video still
© Neil Beloufa
 "April the Second", "Tectonic Plates or the Jurisdiction of Shapes" , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
"April the Second", "Tectonic Plates or the Jurisdiction of Shapes" ,
2009, Video Still
© Neil Beloufa
Kempinski, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Kempinski,
2007 , installation view
© Neil Beloufa
Kempinski, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Kempinski, 2007 , Video still
© Neil Beloufa
Kempinski, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Kempinski, 2007, Video still
© Neil Beloufa
Tectonic L.A., Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Tectonic L.A., 2009
© Neïl Beloufa
 "Kempinski", "Tectonic Plates or the Jurisdiction of Shapes" , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
"Kempinski", "Tectonic Plates or the Jurisdiction of Shapes" ,
2009, Video Still
© Neïl Beloufa
The band was crazy , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, The band was crazy ,
2011 , wood , 32 x 67 x 46 cm
© Galleria ZERO
Peugeot Maccarena, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Peugeot Maccarena,
2011 , wood, plexiglass, print detail, 191 x 240 x 26.5 cm
© Galleria Zero
Sunset Burger, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Sunset Burger,
2009, Lambda Print on Aluminum
© Neïl Beloufa
Holidays, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Holidays,
2011, tubo di rame, stampa su dibond, legno particolare , 400 x 70 x 50 cm
© Galleria Zero
Two shelves after , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Two shelves after ,
2011 , legno, stampa su dibond , 51 x 31 x 38 cm
© Galleria Zero
Trying the new skating rink , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Trying the new skating rink ,
2011 , legno, ferro , 80 x 14 x 22 cm
© Galleria Zero
Changes of administrations (installation view), Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
Changes of administrations (installation view),
2011
© Galleria Zero
Changes of administrations (installation view), Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
Changes of administrations (installation view),
2011
© Galleria Zero
Changes of administrations (installation view), Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
Changes of administrations (installation view),
2011
© Galleria Zero
Vue de l\'exposition monographique de Neïl Beloufa "Les Inoubliables prises d\'autonomie", dans le cadre de la saison \'Imaginez l\'Imaginaire" , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
Vue de l'exposition monographique de Neïl Beloufa "Les Inoubliables prises d'autonomie", dans le cadre de la saison 'Imaginez l'Imaginaire"

© Courtesy of the artist and Palais de Tokyo / Photo : André Morin
Vue de l\'exposition monographique de Neil Beloufa "Les Inoubliables prises d\'autonomie", dans le cadre de la saison \'Imaginez l\'Imaginaire" , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
Vue de l'exposition monographique de Neil Beloufa "Les Inoubliables prises d'autonomie", dans le cadre de la saison 'Imaginez l'Imaginaire"

© Courtesy of the artist and Palais de Tokyo / Photo : Didier Plowy
Vue de l\'exposition monographique de Neil Beloufa "Les Inoubliables prises d\'autonomie", dans le cadre de la saison \'Imaginez l\'Imaginaire" , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
Vue de l'exposition monographique de Neil Beloufa "Les Inoubliables prises d'autonomie", dans le cadre de la saison 'Imaginez l'Imaginaire"

© Courtesy of the artist and Palais de Tokyo / Photo : Didier Plowy
Derrière, Après Les Chutes , Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, Derrière, Après Les Chutes ,
Exhibition view
© Courtesy of the artist, and C L E A R I N G, New York, Brussels
, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa
© Courtesy of the artist and FONDATION RICARD
People’s passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water: the superlative high resolution be, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
People’s passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water: the superlative high resolution be,
2013, mixed media , variable dimensions
© Courtesy of the Artist and Mendes Wood DM
People\'s passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water: the superlative high resolution Bed, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
People's passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water: the superlative high resolution Bed,
2013. Installation
© Image. Credit: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy of the Artist, and François Ghebaly Gallery
90º degrees, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa, 90º degrees,
2014, sports car bar, Secured wall series
© Courtesy the artist and Mendes Wood, Sao Paolo
People\'s passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water: the superlative high resolution Bed,, Neïl BeloufaNeïl Beloufa,
People's passion, lifestyle beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water: the superlative high resolution Bed,,
2013, Installation Image
© Credit: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy of the Artist, and François Ghebaly Gallery
Born in 1985, Neil Beloufa's works exists in a world that parallels our own and delights in it, where the indicental surfaces as the subject, and where these subjects are as likely to meet as two submarines or two satellites. BIOGRAPHY Born in 1985, Algerian and French. 2008 California institute of the Arts (CalArts) – Valencia, USA. 2007 Cooper Union – New-York, USA. 2007 DNAP, Ensba. 20...[more]


RackRoom
Interview with Neïl Beloufa

Los Angeles, Aug. 2009 - I hate superlatives. But at twenty-four-years old, French-Algerian artist Neil Beloufa has made with his work, Kempinski, 2007, likely one of the best pieces of video art I may have ever seen. Dubious superlatives asides, his work has circled both the film festival circuit and gallery exhibitions collecting dozens of awards and vociferous praise.

Working in the contradictory genre of “ethnological sci-fi documentary,” the video portrays a series of Malian men simply speaking of the future in the present tense, but the tension between the fictive nature of their visions (which are often more animist than Star Wars), the reality of the men themselves, the play with post-colonial expectations of exoticism, and the spooky way in which the film is flawlessly shot creates a provocative narrative tableau that presents us with all our expectations of Africa and then subverts them with a subtlety not usually attributed to sci-fi. The men are hopeful, their visions strange and beautiful, the meaning is slippery, and Beloufa’s video is all of the above. Kempinski will be showing as a part of Beloufa’s upcoming Los Angeles solo debut at Chung King Project/François Ghebaly.

Courtesy of the artist and Chung King Project, Los Angeles


Andrew Berardini: So, what do you do?

Neil Beloufa: I make work that reflects back on itself while I'm making it. My production is a means to form collusion between not only the object and myself but between the object and the viewers. The viewers’ relationship with the piece takes the place of the piece. I like Artaud's notion of “subjectile,” which as Derrida defines it is that which lies "between the surfaces of the subject and object." In any media that I use I'm interested in an unstable meaning that can easily mutate. The goal is to produce so-called ”stuff” that keeps on balancing and isn't too authoritarian. I always treat everything on the same level without hierarchies between any kind of sources and/or fields: pop culture to art history. I suppose a cheesy bad movie zoom is not more stereotyped than a beautiful contemplative "artsy film shot”

AB: You make videos and objects, how are these two modes different for you? Is there a difference?

NB: They're really different but I’d like them not to be.

My videos and my objects or installations are ruled the same way, taking the empirical premise that fiction is to the documentary what a "sculpture" is to a functional object. In both cases viewers have to suspend their coherent reasoning, to put a belief in an object, and thus consider it through a higher level.

The thing is that (maybe) videos are "made to be watched,” whereas a functional object is made to be used. This may offer to my videos more authority through the habits of the viewer to watch. In order to balance this authority, I choose to reflect upon this system while working and attempt to bring other potential meanings to the videos while keeping the same gestures, like betrayed artifices, or useless pretexts as subjects. It’s difficult to balance.

AB: Tell me about Kempinski, 2007, there seems to be a tension between the reality of the situation and the surreality of each of the Malian interviewees visions of the future?

NB: Kempinski plays with Western viewers’ expectations on Africa through my in-between situation; I’m Algerian/French, a Western viewer as I did my whole studies in France and the US but with an Algerian cultural background.

Video or films shot in Africa are in most cases paternalist documentaries, or focus on exotic political issues, but rarely actual fiction and even less science-fiction.

Kempinski respects the official documentary rules as nothing is scripted. Everything is improvised with a subtle "real" game rule shifting, and it’s the stereotypical sci-fi frames and music that make the piece mutate into a blurry fake fiction. Does faking a fiction, which is naturally fake, make it “real”? Interviewees simply had to talk about the future using the present tense, which undermines our expectations of Africa, while still being " for real". The interesting thing about the project, which I wasn't really expecting, is that even though science fiction’s global culture is known there, most of what they said correlated to a more animistic universe, which surpasses my own understanding. Though I’m no expert on Mail, it seemed to highlight the two distinctive layers of a kind of their reality and society.

This basic game rule is nothing more than a simple conjugation mistake, which is taken in the video for not being one. For example in the film, when a guy says that in the future cars speak, it’s actually already true with GPSs in cars. At the end it's like a kind of ethnological sci-fi documentary, a genre that is obviously a contradiction in its substance.

These conscious playful mistakes produce a work that gives its meaning not by what is said but by how it's said and why it's said. This may look fictional, when it is actually not. All the issues raised are subtextual and have open-ended meanings. And this is the answer to your question about tension; the viewer can’t tell what exactly the piece is (documentary? fiction?), and the cinematic tricks are apparent (lights, wires, unmixed music and sound effects); and yet, there is still something that we can’t define...

Neil Beloufa, Kempinski, 2007; Courtesy of the artist and Chung King Project, Los Angeles


AB: You've shown many of your videos, especially Kempinski, in both galleries and in film festivals, how do you feel these different contexts change the perception of the work?

NB: I said earlier that what interests me the most is the possibility for a work to mutate depending on the context. That's in a way what happen when my work is shown in one field or the other. In the movie theater, the video is shown with a beginning and an end, while it's looped in galleries. The work was thought not to have any real beginning (starting the piece at any point would work) and to have always the same tension in it. It's just a simple situation that doesn't evolve along a story-line from the beginning to the end. Whatever interviewees say in “Kempinski,” stays flat. The only climax is the viewer's relation to the piece trying to figure out the meaning of the (fake) narrative.

When the video is considered to have a start and an end, the work gets more strange as the narrative becomes more important than the artistic gesture itself. In this case, a clearer meaning is expected to come out of it : metaphorical interpretations flow. In a gallery, viewers usually focus on the gesture: "asking people to talk about the future in present tense" with a kind of minimalist set of rules that offers a ton of possibilities and brings the work together.

But in a way, when a gallery shows a work on a monitor, it replays the painting frame while with a projection with seats replays the cinematic display even if we try to have another presentation through installation. Maybe because of that, it happens in galleries that people will still talk about a beginning or an end.

AB: What are some of the recent projects you've worked on or exhibitions you're working towards?

NB: I am currently hurrying to finish my upcoming show at Francois Ghebaly's gallery, which opens September 9. I'll be showing Kempinski as a premise for the exhibition, but as the gallery is in LA, the framing and other work will be quite topical as it is my first show on the San Andreas' fault. "TECTONIC PLATES OR THE JURISDICTIONS OF SHAPES", is going to be a site-specific installation with sculptures using tectonics as a formal pretext for the production of shapes through issues of hyperreality.

I also just finished a video that crystallizes the “object shifting into a sculpture and a fiction shifting into a document issue.” Brune Renault is a kind of looped fiction that happens in a car sliced in four parts resting on small wheels, basically a sculpture. Since we can open the car, we can make impossible camera shots, moving in and out of the object. The goal of the piece was to have this car cut in four parts to give the illusion of movement, which is a paradox. I wanted the sculpture to mutate into a functional object (real car), once viewers were starting to follow and "suspend disbelief" for the fiction. And then, make the fiction being lost to have the video’s function to mutate into a document about the usual contemporary art sculpture. The impossible camera shots showing the cuts of the cars had to be the disturbing element that should betray the fiction, but then again the power of fiction is hard to break down.


ArtSlant would like to thank Neil Beloufa and Chung King Project for their assistance in making this interview possible.

--Andrew Berardini

FORMER RACKROOMERS

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