A graveyard of ships; the dazzling light of Algiers; the melancholy of sea travel: Seafaring presents new and recent film and photographic works by London-based artist Zineb Sedira, set against the maritime backdrop of North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
MiddleSea, 2008, is a mesmeric, filmed depiction of a sea voyage. The film traces the somnambulant movements of a lone male, as he rambles the deserted corridors of a ship crossing the Mediterranean between Marseilles and Algiers. MiddleSea features an extraordinary soundscape, created in collaboration with artist Mikhail Karikis, which interweaves, distorts and intensifies sound recorded on location.
This work forms a companion piece to Saphir, 2006, an evocative juxtaposition of two film sequences. Containing a ‘germ of a narrative’ – two characters, a man and woman, strolling, waiting and looking – Saphir is set in and around the port of Algiers. Focusing upon the crumbling grandeur of the 1930s Hotel Es Safir and views of the Tariq Ibn Ziyad ferry, which travels to and from Marseille, the work alludes to the desire for escape, belonging and to return.
Seafaring also showcases a new John Hansard Gallery artist’s commission, Remnants of a Scattered Vessel, 2009. Comprising fifteen lightboxes, the work presents a fragmented, luminescent portrait of a ship’s carcass on the desolate Mauritanian coastline. The appearance of the boat’s remains and its decayed, rusted surfaces signify a deathly finality – not simply the death of a vessel, but the end of a journey. This is particularly significant given that the location, where the desert meets the sea, is now a perilous embarkation route for would-be migrants.
Elsewhere, Beyond the Sea, 2008, a second lightbox installation, singles out details of a vessel – a bright red handle, the white sirens, a window seat – offset against the glowing intensity of the sky and sea.
Born in Paris in 1963, Zineb Sedira has exhibited across Europe, the Middle East and the US. She works between Paris, London and Algiers.
For further information about the artist visit www.zinebsedira.com
Zineb Sedira: Seafaring is a John Hansard Gallery exhibition and part of Southampton Film Week, 2 – 11 October 2009. Saphir was co-commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery and Film & Video Umbrella. MiddleSea was produced by ArtsAdmin and funded by Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation and Galerie Kamel Mennour.