Le Sommeil, 2010-2015

Work composed by 8 sheets lacquered paper, 65 x 50 cm
© Louis Delbare // Courtesy Galerie Mathias Coullaud

Vue de l'exposition SEXISME

© Louis Delbare // Courtesy Galerie Mathias Coullaud

Zoulikha Bouabdellah - Afrita Hanem 1

Serigraphy, 47 x 71 cm
© Louis Delbare // Courtesy Galerie Mathias Coullaud

Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Nue endroit & Nue envers, 2014_Collage_2014

Laser cut posters mounted on foamEd unique87,7 x 132 x 5 cm
© courtesy Zoulikha Bouabdellah

Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Etudepour rituel 2_2011

Ink on paperEdition of 20 70 x 100cm
© courtesy Zoulikha Bouabdellah

Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Les couteaux (série 2), 2013

Edition of 1/3 15 cm to 30 cm
© Courtesy Zoulikha Bouabdellah

Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Perfection takes time (Still)

Vidéo of 4minutes3+1 AP
© courtesy Zoulikha Bouabdellah

Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Observe-Reverse, Still Video 2

Observe // Reverse, Video-Installation,Ed3 + 2EA
© Zoulikha Bouabdellah // Courtesy Galerie Mathias Coullaud

Zoulikha Bouabdellah

Zoulikha Bouabdellah


Born in moscow in 1977

She grew up in Algiers and moved to France in 1993. A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Arts de Cergy-Pontoise in 2002.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah’s works, in installation, drawing, video and photography, deal with the effects of globalization and question their depictions with humour and subversion. In 2003, she directed the video Let's Dance (Dansons) in which she confuses the archetypes of French and Algerian cultures by performing a belly dance to the tune of the Marseillaise. The same year, her work featured in Experiments in the Arab Avant-garde at the French Cinémathèque (Paris). In 2005, Zoulikha Bouabdellah participated in  Africa Remix  at Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), and in 2008 in the festival Paradise Now! Essential Avant-Garde French Cinema 1890-2008 at the Tate Modern (London).

Since 2007, Bouabdellah’s works focus on letters and words of love, and particularly on the status of women. Made with different materials - paper, acrylic, aluminum, neon, wood - her works act as slogans and forge links between North and South, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, the visible and unsaid.

She has exhibited at the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), the Brooklyn Museum (New York), Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation (Vienna), the Museum Kunst Palast (Düsseldorf), the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (New York), the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha) and the Moderna Museet (Stockholm). She has participated in several biennials and festivals including the Venice Biennale (2007), Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine in Bamako (2003), Thessaloniki Biennial (2011), Turin Triennale (2008) and the Aichi Triennale (2010). Her most recent exhibition includes the Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists at Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt a/M and at Savannah College of Art and Design Museum, Savannah (2014).

Her work is represented in collections such as Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha), Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation (Vienna), and Sindika Dokolo Foundation (Luanda). She has received awards and distinctions including the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (2009), Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art (2008) and Villa Medicis Hors les Murs (2005). She lives and works in Casablanca, Morrocco


What are your artistic origins? 
Driven by my Arab-Muslim background and my status as a woman, I cannot separate questions of feminism and cultural identity from my work. I am proud to belong to the second sex, a freethinking sex. The sex that has dared claim and assume its place, defying the customs and rules of its time, and, constantly swinging between the dominant and the dominated, is perpetually redefining things.

Did you choose your multidisciplinary approach or did it choose you? 
I choose the medium, genre or technique that best fits my idea and what I intend to convey. What matters essentially is the concept. And my job is to find the best way to work meaning into the medium.

The artistic guidelines of the Gallery are centred on an ironic, satiric and offbeat vision of the world. Do you recognize yourself in this approach? 
I do recognise myself in this approach because humour is a form of resistance.


"Moi Courbet", Galerie Mathias Coullaud, France
Inverted, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno ( CAAM ), Las Palmas
Lettre d'amour à un homme arabe, Galerie Mathias Coullaud, Paris, France
         Inverted, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno - CAAM, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
         Objets de désir, Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid, Spain
2015 Double Truth, Isabelle van den Eynde Gallery, Dubai, U.A.E
2014 L’envers et l’endroit, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France
2013 Bizarre, Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid, Spain
         Elle et lui, GVCC, Casablanca
2012 Any Resemblance To Actual Persons Living Or Dead Is Purely Coincidental, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai, UAE
2011 Mirage, Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid
2010 Set Me Free from my Chains, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai
         CMOOA, Rabat, Morocco

Sacrées graines, Institut des cultures de l'Islam, Paris
Body Talk : féminisme, sexualité et corps dans l’œuvre de six artistes africaines, Frac Lorraine, Metz
         Waste Lands, esbaluard, museu d'art modern i contemporani de palma, Majorque
         Sexisme, Galerie Mathias Coullaud, Paris
         L'Iris de Lucy, MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon et Musée départemental d'art contemporain de Rochechouart.
2015 Body Talk : féminisme, sexualité et corps dans l’œuvre de six artistes africaines‘, Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden
         Body Talk : féminisme, sexualité et corps dans l’œuvre de six artistes africaines‘, WIELS, Brussels, Belgium
         The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists', Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., USA
         Cherchez l'erreur, Institut des Cultures d'Islam, Paris, France
2014 Music Palace, the power of music seen by visual artists‘, Boghossian Foundation-Villa Empain, Brussels, Belgium
         The Divine Comedy, Savannah College of Art Design, Frankfurt, Georgia, USA
         Sculpture du Sud‘, Villa Datris, L’Isle sur la Sorgue, France
         The Divine Comedy, MMK, Frankfurt, Germany
         Mil Caras, La Fondation Abderrahman Slaoui, Casablanca, Morocco
         Le corps manquant, l'Institut Français d'Alger, Algeria
2013 Modernités plurielles de 1905 à 1970’, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
         Mil Caras, Centre d’Art Moderne de Tétouan, Morocco
         Traits d'union’, Paris et l'art contemporain arabe‘, Villa des Arts, Rabat
         Cross-border. Contemporary Female Artists from the Arabian Mediterranean Region‘, ZKM. Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany
         Khatt and after, Mathaf : Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
         Nervous Women’, Dr. Guislain, Gent, Belgium
2012 The Progress Of Love’, The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, USA
         Traits d'union, Paris et l'art contemporain arabe‘, Musée National de Sanaa, Yemen
         Le Corps découvert, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris
         Dessins, Galerie Ammar Farhat, Sidi Bou Saïd, Tunisia
         Cuerpos, Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid
         Arrival and departures’, Mole Vanvitelliana, Ancona, Italy
2011 Traits d'union, Paris et l'art contemporain arabe‘, Villa Emerige, Paris
         Big Brother, l'artiste face aux tyrans’, Palais des Arts et du festival, Dinard, France
         Disquieting Muses, Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, Greece
         Fluxus - African Contemporary’ Art, Chiesa Del Santi Carlo E Agata, Reggio Emilia, Italy
2010 Illumination (After Arthur Rimbaud)’, Curated by Ashok Adiceam, LTMH Gallery, New York, USA
         Nouba’, Aichi Triennial, Japan
2009 Les Mécaniques Amoureuses’, Maison Guerlain, Paris
         Abraaj Capital Art Prize, Museum of Arts & Design, New York
        Coexistencias’, 2nd Architecture, Art and Landscape Biennial of the Canaries, Spain
        The Other Shadow of the City’, The Palestinian Art Court-al Hoash, Jerusalem, Palestine
        Perspectives: women, art and Islam’, co-Presented by MoCADA and the Museum for African Art, New York
        The seen and the hidden: (dis)covering the veil’, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York Wondering Where the ducks Went...’, Galleria Tiziana Di Caro, Salerno, Italy
        Images Passages, Annecy, France
2008 Turin Triennial, Italy
         The third space: Cultural Identity Today, Mead Art Museum’, Amherst College,
         Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
         Home ?, Galerie des tourelles, Nanterre, France
         L’art au féminin’, Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Algiers, Algeria
         Black-Paris, Black-Bruxelles, Ixelles, Belgium
2007 Global Feminisms’, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Boston, USA
         7th Bamako Biennial, Mali
         Airs de Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
         52nd Venice Biennial, Africain pavllion, Venice, Italy
         Dreamdance, Visual Arts Space, Vénissieux, France
         Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum, New York
         Paris du monde entier, Artistes étrangers à Paris 1900-2005, The National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan
2006 Paris Black, Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth, Germany
         Africa Remix , Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
         Why Pictures Now?, Museum Moderner Kunst Stifung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria
         L’image révélée, Palais Kheireddine Musée de la ville de Tunis, Tunisia
2005 Occident vist des d’orient’, Centre de Cultura Contemporania, Barcelona, Spain
         Africa Remix’, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris & Hayward Gallery, London
2004 Africa Remix’, Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, Germany
         VIth African Contemporary Art Biennial Dak’art, Dakar, Senegal
         Les Afriques, Tri Postal, Lille, France
2003 Rites sacrés, rites profanes, Vth Rencontres de la photographie africaine, Bamako, Mali
         Zineb Sedira, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Espace croisé, Roubaix, France
2002 Vth African Contemporary Art Biennial Dak’art, Dakar, Senegal

2011 French Experimental Cinema, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York, USA
2010 E-flux video rental, Fondazione Giuliani per l’arte contemporanea, Rome, Italy
2009 Art East, Video screening, Dansons, Dubai
2008 Paradise Now! Essential French Avant-Garde Cinema, 1890-2008, Tate Modern, London, UK
2007 New Media Screenings, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, USA
         Carte blanche à Elvan Zabunyan, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
         Video story, Centre Pompidou’s 30th anniversary, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
2006 Live Screen, Saddler’s Well, London, UK
         MAM SCREEN, Dansons screening in Tokyo subway, Tokyo, Japan
         I love art vidéo, 7th edition, Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Strasbourg, France
2005 Playing in the Light: Black Dance Film Tour, Tate Modern, London
         23rd festival Tous courts, Aix-en-Provence, France
2004 Festival Vidéoformes, Clermont-Ferrand, France
         Nuit de la vidéo française, Warsaw-Cracow-Gdansk, Poland
2003 Expérimentations dans les avant-gardes arabes, Cinémathèque française, Paris
         Festival Tous Courts, Aix-en-Provence, France
         Image Contre Nature, Marseille, France
         Festival Cinéma Méditerranéen, Montpellier, France
2002 Festival Vidéoformes, Clermont-Ferrand, France
         IVe festival des Cinémas différents de Paris, France
2001 IIIe festival des Cinémas Différents de Paris, France

Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE
Mathaf, Doha, Qatar
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Moderner Kunst Stifung Ludwig, Wien, Autriche
Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, USA
Sindika Dokolo Foundation, Luanda, Angola
Art in Embassies: US Department of State, Rabat Embassy, Morocco
Deutsche Bank, Germany


Today, everybody wants to be able to see everything, preaching transparency on worship, so that each one gets the power to be able to satisfy its need to observe and supervise.
Under these conditions, the artist has to resist the will of control and classification. He must manage to deviate from this imposed line and to follow a deviation he/she has wanted. Isn't it the artist who inspires to see things differently?

In this world where images are everywhere, I led a series of works keeping in mind the elements which hide more than they show. It is the deeper sense of my work, which intends to convince that the things are not given to be seen such as they should be, that they evade and escape one way reading. In other words, they invite to transgress the limits.

My approach consists to push forward boundaries, to create interactions between them. My artistic and conceptual concerns lead me to mix in my work several concepts at the same time. In addition to the concept, I avoid to comply with only one method of formal realization. Things must be done and remade willingly to the social and cultural contexts, in accordance with time and space.

How to make it differently when, as information goes around instantaneously from one part of the world to the other, the question of understanding and meaning becomes an important issue: the issue of power and domination?

With regard to my Arab-Muslim origins and the fact of being a woman, I cannot dissociate my work from the question of feminism and cultural belonging. I claim to be a «second sex», a free-thinker sex. The one who knows how to claim and to defy codes and rules of its time and who is constantly balanced between being dominant and being dominated, thus creating a perpetual outlet for new meanings. 

Zoulikha Bouabdellah

Zoulikha Bouabdellah