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News / Events / Zineb Sedira represents France at the 59th Venice Biennale

Zineb Sedira represents France at the 59th Venice Biennale

In the French pavilion within the Giardini de la Serénissime, “Les Rêves n’ont pas de titre, Dreams have no titles” by the Franco-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira will evoke current and political questions, under cover of eminently personal remarks .

After Xavier Veilhan and his “Studio Venezia” in 2015, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot and his poetic and environmental proposal “Rêvolutions” in 2017, Laure Prouvost and her very aquatic project “See this blue melting” from 2019, it’s the turn by Zineb Sedira to take over the various spaces of the French pavilion for this new edition. Supported by the French Institute, curated by Yasmina Reggad, independent curator and director of the Bienal das Amazônias de Belèm , in Brazil, as well as Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, curators of the Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon 2022 and founders of the curatorial platform artReoriented, his project is seen as a protean installation combining family life and multiple questions associating France, Algeria and Italy.

Yasmina Reggad © Lola Reboud
Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath © Blandine Soulage

Immersive installation focused on cinema and family


“Being a videographer, the thread of my project revolves around cinema through an Algerian-French-Italian co-production and is intended as a little nod to the Venice Film Festival” , she explains, during the press presentation at the Jean Vigo cinema, which she frequented as a teenager, in Genevilliers. However, “Les Rêves n’ont pas de titre, Dreams have no titles” is a larger installation, bringing together within the neoclassical architecture of the pavilion – with which it can sometimes be difficult to negotiate – films, objects , archives and personal furniture of the artist, a bit like his exhibition “L’espace d’un instant” presented at the Jeu de Paume, in 2019, which reconstructed part of his living room, in London. A project that is both intimate and universalist, which speaks of his family but also of racism, solidarity, colonization and decolonization, multiple identities, through the presentation of “significant films, from the repertoire of Algerian militant cinema from the 1960”.

French pavilion ©DR

Algerian militant cinema as a starting point for Zineb Sedira


To carry out this project, Zineb Sedira worked for more than two years, during which she found, in Italy, the film “Free Hands (or Fig Tree Trunk)”, produced in 1964 by the Italian Ennio Lorenzini. Restored in partnership with the Cineteca di Bologna , with which Zineb Sedira collaborated extensively, this first “post-independence” Algerian feature film, a veritable “self-portrait of a young state which has just won its freedom” will be screened in suburban areas.

Dreams have no title © Thierry Bal and © Zineb Sedira

In addition and giving a written record to his multiple research, three newspapers bearing the names of his three cities of heart for the project – Algiers, Paris, Venice – will be presented there. “They summarize all the long hours of discussion and work that I was able to carry out in Italy, in France, although I was unable to go to Algeria because of the health crisis” she explains. “They relate the entire journey towards this final production and inform about what is happening within the pavilion. »

Dreams have no title © Thierry Bal and © Zineb Sedira

Beyond this intimate and universalist vision of the world which shows how much personal words can have an international resonance, we can ask ourselves the question of the choice of the visual artist and her project to represent France. If the Franco-Algerian supported by gallery owner Kamel Mennour denies having imagined a proposal with political overtones, while March 18, 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Evian agreements ending the war between Algeria and France, the coincidence remains troubling. “The biennial has been postponed for a year, she adds, I did not take that into account…” And Yamina Reggad adds: “His words are more in line with those of Laure Prouvost for the pavilion. »

Virginie Chuimer-Layen

Zineb Sedira, Dreams have no titles/ Dreams have no titles , French Pavilion, Giardini dell’Arsenale, Venice, from April 23 to November 27, 2022.