Béchir Boussandel b. 1984

 B. 1984


Béchir Boussandel’s poetic space combines ornament, the diffusion of light and the miniature portrait. In his painting, the image of the world is babelized at pleasure. As places that are both empty and inhabited, the artist's colourful and moving sand dunes are scattered with lonesome protagonists who echo each other in the vastness of the landscape. Anachorites who never meet, solitary in their crossing of the desert on their moving plots of land, these few characters extracted from multiple environments are arranged and isolated on the canvass as in a nursery rhyme : the dog, the horse and the palm tree; the bag, the Bedouin and the stick. Because of their scale and the precision of their construction, they are, so to speak, the figurines of a board game posing serenely and called to be moved. Except that the game is free of any logic. At times an element repeats itself identically, like an anomaly reminding us of the unreality of these lands made of decoys. Physics is not the law either if we are to believe the polyfocal diagram in which geographical birds-eye views and small full-length portraits are combined. This onirogenic dimension is attested to by the psychedelic range of the backgrounds, gradations of light coming from dawn or dusk and magnifying the often contrasting shadows of the figures. The motionless, sometimes hieratic attitude of the latter is treated in a polished touch, and contrasts with the hypnotism of the clay backgrounds painted with large brushes in a physical relationship to the colour.


Within these paintings, the various objects are as small and defined as the space is large and uncertain. Here, the absence of a horizon, freezing the image in time and space, is just as much a matter of metaphysical painting as it is Islamic ornament. A fanciful cartography whose treatment echoes the aspective figurations of the Nile valley in ancient Egypt. As the Egyptians settled down, they developed an iconography of the landscape that emphasised human activities rather than nature. Among others, the kemet ("black earth" which receives the Nile flood), the mehou ("marsh"), the dechret (desert, "the red", "the ochre"), the ouhat (oasis) can be distinguished. In his pseudo-topographical figuration, Béchir Boussandel also denotes, as much as he fractures it, an apprehension of the territory by those who inhabit it, discover it, exploit it.


Stylized in miniature and accompanied by attributes that define them by their profession, these surveyors, gardeners, delivery men, shoeshine boys, all have to do with a certain idea of movement. There is no question of roads however. These modern portulans foil more than they support the sense of direction. The right combination between the various elements has yet to be found : like in a video game, objects are less landmarks than hit points. Soil does not guarantee much more stability, like floating platforms ready to disintegrate at the first game over. Each painting is a fragment of a much larger space that could be browsed within the same screen, like an interactive map. Within this fictional territory, the confrontation of the public and the private, the sedentary and the nomadic is underlying. Which of the place or the character is really moving in relation to the other? Henri Focillon precisely uses the term "vertigo of reduction" concerning the Western miniature, suggesting the confusion as well as the exaltation caused by this distortion of the size. What is suprising with Béchir Boussandel’s painting is that it gives to the small a wide and equal capacity to conquer the vast. For there is no hierarchy that orders those who occupy the place : the composition parts with any centrality to occupy the space of the painting in a sporadic way in a decorative bias. Neither foreground nor background, everything is played out in the margins.


Text by Elora Weill-Engerer
Translated by Yohan Guibert


2024, Extraction, Montresso Art Fondation, Marrakech 
2023, Land Survey, Tabari Artspace, UAE
2022, The sun sets in the east, Taymour Grahne Gallery, London
2021, Hula houp, Gallery Lalalende, Paris, France
2021, A vol d'oiseau, espace 36, Saint Omer, France
2020, Au bord de l'ombre, CDA Gallery, Casablanca, Morocco 2012 Point d'encrage, l'Univers ,Lille, France

2012, Point d'encrage, l'Univers, Lille, France
2011, 5km/h, La petite maison noire, Lidjiang, Chine



2023, Windows of the Soul, Whitestone gallery, Hong Kong
2023, The Art Moment, Whitestone gallery, Jakarta

2022, L'ombre d'un doute, Gallery Lalalande, Paris, France

2022,  UV, Elbirou Art Gallery, Sousse, Tunisia  

2021, Djerbahood, Gallery Itinerance, Djerba,Tunisia

2021, Spring time, Gallery Provost Hacker, Lille,France

2021, Etat des lieux, Gallery Lalalande, Paris,

2021, Le monde est ici, Artskop3437, Bordeaux, France

2020, Inside Outside, Gallery Lalalande, Paris

 2020, Ici le monde, Institue du Monde Arabe, Tourcoing  Artmontpellier, Artskop3437, Montpellier, France

2020, Coup de soleil, Gallery Provost Hacker, Lille, France

2019, Garde à vue, Gallery Sabine Bayasli, Paris, France

2019, Galeristes, Gallery Provost Hacker, Paris, France
2019, Small, Le Non lieux , Tourcoing
2019, Tout doit disparaître, Gallery Provost Hacker, Lille, France

2019, L’invitation, Gallery Detais, Paris, France
2019, Art’up, Foire D’art Contemporain, Lille, France

2018, Blind Date, Gallery Provost Hacker, Lille, France

2018, Small, Le Non lieux, Tourcoing
2018, Etats des lieux, La plateforme, Dunkerque


2024, SG Singapore, Whitestone Gallery, Singapore
2024, 1-54 art fair, CDA galerie, Marrakech
2023, MENA Art Fair artfair, Montresso art foundation, Paris

2023, Akaa, Revie project, Paris, France
2023, Abu Dhabi Art, Galerie La Lalande, UAE
2023, Luxembourg art Week, Galerie La Lalande, Luxembourg
2023, 1-54 art fair, CDA galerie, Marrakech
2022, Abu Dhabi Art, UAE
2022, 1-54, London, UK


Ministry of Culture and Youth, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Deji Art Museum, Shanghai, China

Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden (MACAAL), Morocco


2009 DNSEP, Beaux arts de Dunkerque, France