PRESS RELEASE

 

Safaa Erruas
'Home Inside Out’

PRIVATE VIEW:     March 26th, 2019, 6 – 8.30 pm
EXHIBITION:        March 27th - May 17th 2019

              

Safaa Erruas's work explores ideas of the body and borders through the meditative abstraction of visceral objects. In order to navigate notions of visibility and multiplicity through materiality, the artist often contrasts distinct sensibilities, materials, and textures. Senses of fragility and softness (cotton, paper, skin) can be found in tension with moments of resistance and sharpness (needles, wire, glass). Through the use of these highly personal and tactile materials, Erruas has developed a strong visual language whereby a process of ritual, repetition, and fragmentation creates minimalist yet loaded poetic gestures. The physical and conceptual aesthetics of the colour white, transparency, and silence serve as a foundation for Erruas’s work to communicate clashing ideas of fragility and violence alongside life and death, all at once subtle and strong.

 

This new body of work, for her first solo exhibition in the UK at 50 Golborne Gallery, focuses on how to place home in a state of migratory flux. Erruas’s meticulously delicate yet resilient pieces imagine skin as both a geographical border and symbolic barrier between our internal and external worlds. Memories are distilled into soft ruptures – itinerant movements into sharp meditations. In this search for belonging, Erruas creates physical manifestations of home where the inside goes out, individual collides with collective, and topographical gestures become intimate, narrative layers.

 

We start this journey with Mare Nostrum (Latin for ‘Our Sea’) – a series of five meticulous works rendering different perspectives of the Mediterranean Sea with metallic threads and broken microscope cover glass on cotton paper. As an artist living in the northern most part of Africa just kilometres from the southern European coast, Erruas reflects that the sea in between these continents ‘feels more and more like an open-air cemetery’. In Sable Mouvant we see these ideas manifest as cartographical abstraction, where notions of displacement and belonging negotiate a labyrinth comprising hundreds of small shards of paper punctuated by elegant yet agitated metal threads. These geographical bodies are then bestowed with a very human touch through Distance 1, 2, and 3 – three works taking their departure from the sinuous energy of Sable Mouvant yet with the distinct introduction of small eyes. Eyes abound in Erruas’s overall oeuvre as both local and universal representations of humanity, the body, and memories, as well as a tool for endowing viewers with a visceral impression of looking versus being looked at, and the multiplicity of gazes in between those two states.

 

Gharib is a unique disruption of Erruas’s characteristic aesthetic language in its use of directly depicting a specific word. Here, topography meets typography to activate the nuance of etymological meanings. In particular, Gharib in Arabic translates to both ‘stranger’ and ‘strange’ – a duality at once historically topical and deeply personal with regards to notions of xenophobia, borders, and a search for belonging permeating our current global landscape. In a gesture of clarity and cacophony, Sur Ma Peau marries these technical and conceptual references through an expression of geometric abstraction that engenders mapping as both a geographical and corporeal presence, where bodies of the artist, women, immigrants, diasporas, nations, and lands all function as barriers through which the interior conflates with the exterior, and violence can be met with resistance. Finally, this is physically manifested in Terra, where a congestion of sharp needles lead outwards into a meditative radiation of meandering paper pieces – a spiritual sense of infinity.

 

‘The question of geographic and territorial representations has always seemed vast and complex to me,’ the artist says. ‘It solicits notions of attribution, displacement, delocalization, and closure... Appealing to this mapping imagery suggests a double sentiment of belonging and independence. The works generally start from a personal point of view regarding the instability of humans in their territory and the choice of being in that place.’ And yet while Erruas’s works brim with a sense of individual experience and intimate reflection, they remain ambiguous gestures rather than pointed statements – a suggestion, question, or invitation rather than a claim or answer. The pieces in this exhibition communicate as vessels for energy and memory ranging from pain to endurance. They are starting points for us all to reflect on our personal wounds and collective struggles in a human history tenuously oscillating between resistance, resolution, and the potential hope of new horizons.

Text by Katherine Finerty

ABOUT Safaa Erruas

 

Safaa Erruas was born in 1976 in Tetouan, Morocco and graduated from the Institute of Fine Artsin Tetouan in 1998. Soon after her graduation, Erruas began a series of exhibitions, in and outside Morocco, by virtue of which many curators and collectors have discovered her. Since 1996 she has been exhibiting regularly in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Norway, Algeria, India and United States. 

She participated in the Dak’Art Biennial in the 2002 and 2006, and the 25th Alexandria Biennial for Mediterranean countries in 2009, where her work entitled “The Moon Inside of Me” won the award of the Biennial. In 2015, the artist took part at the 12 th Biennial of Habana for the specific project “Beyond the Wall”. In 2016, her work entitled “Invisibles” is shown at the Musac Museum in Leon, Spain as part of the “Lucy’s Iris” exhibition. More recently, her last solo exhibition "Le Temps Parcouru" (Time Spent) showed in the last months of 2018, at Galerie 21 in Casablanca, Morocco. 

 

Safaa Erruas's work explores ideas of the body and borders through the meditative abstraction of visceral objects. In order to navigate notions of visibility and multiplicity through materiality, the artist often contrasts distinct sensibilities, materials, and textures. Senses of fragility and softness (cotton, paper, skin) can be found in tension with moments of resistance and sharpness (needles, wire, glass). She works generally on large sizes and designs white themed installation leaving light to underline the spaces.

 

'Home Inside Out', her first solo exhibition in the UK at 50 Golborne Gallery, focuses on how to place home in a state of migratory flux. Erruas’s meticulously delicate yet resilient pieces imagine skin as both a geographical border and symbolic barrier between our internal and external worlds. Memories are distilled into soft ruptures – itinerant movements into sharp meditations. In this search for belonging, Erruas creates physical manifestations of home where the inside goes out, individual collides with collective, and topographical gestures become intimate, narrative layers.

Erruas lives and works in Tetouan.

50 Golborne Road, London, W10 5PR

+44 (0) 203 4418980

Tuesday, Friday & Saturday 11am - 6pm

Wednesday & Thursday 2pm - 6pm

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© 50 GOLBORNE 2019