Land Survey: Bechir Boussandel

1 - 26 February 2023

Bechir Boussandel's paintings raise questions relating to identity by destabilising notions of the space of time and the time of space. The artist is preoccupied with the boundaries that define public and private spaces and reflects upon the duality involving everyday objects and practices that relate to notions of territory, mobility, appropriation or habitat. Boussandels compositions regularly combine motifs absorbed from ornamentation and the miniature portrait. Henri Focillon applies the term "vertigo of reduction" to the Western miniature, suggesting that there is a confusion as well as exaltation caused by this distortion of the size. In Béchir Boussandels paintings, the small and the wide are afforded equal capacity to conquer the vast. There is no hierarchy that orders those who occupy the place: his compositions part with any centrality to occupy the space. Neither foreground nor background is prioritised - everything is played out in the margins.


The works on canvas presented at Tabari Artspace witness Boussandel construct fictional and utopian scenes across various scales. He invites the viewer to journey through an unfamiliar landscape - a survey of the land - with the notions of territories and travel through space and time central to the series. Boussandels palette of fire oranges and reds speaks of twilight - a moment of the day when one is suspended waiting for the sky to touch the earth yet his landscapes are composed intentionally without a horizon line. Desert plant life that can flourish in harsh climatic conditions - palms and cacti - as well as migrating birds and levitating fruit, freed from the fixture of the soil, are also recurring motifs within Boussandels compositions. Boussandel is preoccupied by the borders and boundaries which he perceives between public and private spaces. The artist foregrounds this duality through the representation of everyday objects, characters and creatures that operate in relation to territory, mobility, or habitat.