The work on the exhibition show Maïmouna’s artistic path and a journey to the different spiritual interpretations. At Volta visitors will be able to see: ‘White Rubber Tire – First Lesson’, 2014, ‘The Giants’, ‘Cosmo’ and ‘Supha’ and at the Mariane Ibrahim Gallery in Seattle: the photographic series of the Giants: ‘Moussa’, ‘Rhokaya’ and ‘Surprise’; the photo triptych ‘Table Red’ and ‘Blue Family’; the photographic installation ‘Cosmo’; the photos ‘Hats-Minarets’; and the video installation ‘Milky Light’.
‘White Rubber Tire – First Lesson’, 2014 is a part of the latest photographic series titled M-Eating. The seies presents images of African men, women, and children, in front of the same table, anticipating a banquet. But there is no food on the table, and just a few objects like a plate, a jug of water, or some remnants of war, that in this context lose the meaning of menace for a daily and decorative aspect. The scene in ‘First Lesson’ takes place around a red table with a teacher, children and a wheel on the table painted white and used as if it was an object of study. The scene has a psychological connotation as well as formal one. The colorful clothes, tablecloths, the bottoms of the walls painted by the artist, are part of this silent act of metaphysical suspension, something is going to happen, perhaps a dialogue or something else. This table encounter thus becomes an opportunity to reflect on contemporary man and his relationship to society.
Maïmouna Guerresi / M-Eating Series, Salt, 2013, Lambda print on aluminum, 70×246 cm – 110×387 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Maïmouna Guerresi / M-Eating Series, White Cup, 2014, Lambda print on aluminum, 100×118 cm – 200×237 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Maïmouna Guerresi / M-Eating Series, White Rubber Tires -First Lesson 2014, Lambda print on aluminum, 100×162 – 150×243 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
In ‘The Giants’ series, the Maïmouna was inspired by the African Muslim mystics who appear in her photographs as large and imposing figure wearing the mantle, where only the hands and the face can be seen while the body is empty, a space that attracts new and unknown. The clothes are shaped in the architectural forms making metaphysical and surreal to become a whole with their body in the photograph.
Maïmouna Guerresi / Akbar, 2010, Lambda print on aluminum, 200×125 cm – 100×63 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Maïmouna Guerresi / Rhokaya, 2010, Lambda print on aluminum, 200×125 cm -100×63 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Maïmouna Guerresi / Surprise, 2010, Lambda print on aluminum, 200×125 cm -100×63 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
A large photographic installation ‘Cosmo’ is composed of circles in various sizes that give the effect of planets spinning around their orbit, representing a female figure dressed in black seen from the top, in various stages of counterclockwise rotation symbolizing the mystical dance of the Sufis.
Maïmouna Guerresi / Illumination 1, 2010 Lambda print on aluminum, 120×120 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Maïmouna Guerresi / Illumination 3, 2010 Lambda print on aluminum, 100×53 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Maïmouna Guerresi / Illumination 4, 2010 Lambda print on aluminum, 100×60 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
In these works Maimouna focused on the highest part of the body – the Head. She crowned them with a number of artifacts in the form of Hat-Minaret, created in traditional way with simple materials and pieces of cloth, collected, put together and then sewn as is the tradition for the Sufi Muslims Baifall Senegal. The architectural form of head pieces make men tall and narrow. The characters in the photographs hide their faces with a hand gesture, they are blindfolded or simply close their eyes, to get away from the world and to get in tune with the cosmic divine spirit. The form of the Hat-Minaret can also be seen as a castle, a fortress, which protects the head, the highest part of the body but is also an extension of the same body, the antenna, the canal leading and transmitting spiritual energy.
‘Milky Light’, video installation
The work ‘Milky Light’ (2013, 23 min) consists of three large bowls in white resin, filled with milk. In each bowl there is a projection video that represents the hands of different people continuously taking the milk, in almost hypnotic rhythm, without emptying the bowls, symbolizing the well of infinite light. The video is accompanied by an ancient Sufi music, the sound representation of the circles of water, produced by the sound of a lute. This music used to be played as a form of healing in the old Turkish hospitals.
Maïmouna Guerresi is a photographer, sculptor, and video installation artist. She lives between Italy and Senegal. Maïmouna’s universe is as much the result of chemistry between cultural and religious influences, as the fusion of different artistic languages. Linked both to Italy and Senegal, to Western culture and Sufi philosophy, her works reflect a dual culture and a dual belonging, and above all, the search for equilibrium between these two worlds.
Maïmouna Guerresi was invited to participate in the Italian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1982-1986-2010 as well as Documenta K18 (1987) in Kassel, Germany. In 1991 Maïmouna travelled to various Muslim countries in Africa and converted to Islam whilst in Senegal.
Her work has been exhibited and collected all over the world.