July, 2008, Yazid Oulab @ Galerie Eric Dupont


 Yazid Oulab, Brown Crate, 2008. Wood gunny metal 151 x 32 x 90.5cm courtesy Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris

Yazid Oulab's solo show at Paris's Galerie Eric Dupont presents the Algerian artist's meditations on labour and migration in media as diverse as film, sculpture, and extraordinarily delicate drawings that explore his truncated memories of Algeria. In combination with his work on view this summer in the group show 'Traces du Sacré' at Centre Pompidou, Oulab's art reminds us that there is really one world, composed of many. And as an artist, he voyages and migrates between these worlds, taking us with him through suitcase sculptures he has made from 'flying carpets' and the cobalt blue overalls of the labourers to whom he pays tribute.

Yazid Oulab, Fil Plomb, 2008, Sculpture 24 x 16 x 18

Along with travel and cultural identity, Oulab weaves the theme of humility through the work at the Galerie Eric Dupont. He best represents the meaning of 'humility' in a series of seven heads which humbly face down from a privileged point of surveillance on the gallery's wall. Between six of the heads, a single white cotton string hangs, affixed to a mass of fine-filigreed lead. The pendants recall the Algerian custom of a fortune teller prophesying the future by reading the patterns that form when one pours molten lead into still water.

Oulab's pendants appear to be manifestations of the heads' inner conscience, or prophetic nuggets signaling larger, untold truths. Among these truths might be the importance Algerian culture ascribes to 'descent,' in its most significant form the descent of Allah's word, giving rise to the plumb-line between the organic and leaden forms. In Oulab's sculpture, the lead hangs from dead-straight string, symbolically denoting a soundly constructed wall which is produced by simple, honest labour. Fundamentally and spiritually, Oulab's art, more than anything, pays homage to a job well done.

Yazid Oulab at Galerie Eric Dupont from 12th June- 25th July
13 rue Chapon 75003, Paris

Zain Masud

Zain Masud is a pan- Eastern Londoner and recent Art History post-graduate of  the University of Oxford. She currently lives in Paris.

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