Galerie Peter Herrmann
Louzla Darabi

Artist statement


That work, painted in the year 2003, belongs to a series of paintings, drawings and poems through which I tried to deal with the world of spirituality in an unconventional way, far from what is generally admitted. To keep it short, I'd say that this particular painting is based on the postulate according to which physical love is just one of the various paths leading to the threshold of the spiritual world.

A strong intimate intuition which was reinforced by examining thoroughly my cultural roots, i-e a Northern African and therefore muslim background, the story of my own life, but also my reading and knowledge. If a fragment of the Koran can be read across the portrait of a nude woman enjoying the intense pleasure afforded to her by a man’s love, it is osbviously not pure coincidence. It can be read as an answer to the hypocrisy of muslim culture with regards to sexuality and above all woman’s sexuality.

I'm fully aware, of course, of the fact that some people can consider my painting as a provocation, while others will receive it as a positive way of questioning reality - or as a plain picture for those who can't read Arabic writing. It is very important to understand that I did not conceive those paintings as pure provocation, but that my true aim was to express in the most genuine way my intuition: love leads to the spiritual, and therefore to God. I cannot read those written words without shivering. I did not write them down to offend anyone, but to emphasized the connection between love and God, symbolised by the Holy Scriptures of the Koran. That painting carries criticism of a patriarchal society but, in the first place, it’s an attempt to understand where I come from.

It came to my knowledge recently, last time I visited Algeria, that it was with those very words written on the painting that, in the muslim tradition, husband and wive called upon God before making love.

If you wish to understand better what my intentions are as an artist, please visit my website : www..........com. To enter the « ......... », the code is : « .......... ». (infos later, the gallery)

Last but not least, that painting is also the result of my thinking about woman, particularly with regards to the violence she can be subjected to, as I learned through the personal experiences of my mother and aunts.

An important fact is that, in the year 2004, I came back to Algeria after being away for 8 years, in order to work there on a project (as explained on the attached document). This experience offered me another point on view on my country and my culture, and in a way it is the reason why I now refer to the Sacred in a different way.

I’m currently working on a 30mm video work entitled « APPARTEMENTS » (« flats » in English). It has the distinctive feature of showing a space which brings together three elements : painting, my favoured medium ; dance, a medium I discovered 4 years ago through the work of Brigitte Dumez, a contemporary Choreographer ; and time, which I consider as one of the key concepts of creative video.

In this video, fantasy and aesthetics prevail over narration itself. In short : a woman moves her body in empty flats. Dance is her language. On the walls, a raw painting suddenly appears. Sensuality, of a woman who only exists through her body. Sacred, when the singing voice of a woman can be heard summoning the faithful to prayer.

This video deals with the issue of woman.

This video also deals with the Algerian city of Oran, where it was shot.

Brigitte Dumez generously collaborated with me on this project by dancing for the video and by bringing into it her experienced eye. Furthermore, I asked her to create a dance solo in continuity with the video. Her solo would take place in a stage setting made of video screens showing empty spaces refering to the video « Appartements ». The video would be shown just before the solo, which is designed for galleries and other art and cultural centers.

This project has been sponsored by the French Cultural Centres of Oran and Alger.

I really wanted to thank you for showing my works and to congratulate you for your commitment.

I am entirely at your disposal, should you require any further information or help.

Kind regards,

Louzla Darabi.