Bruno Boudjelal
Frantz Fanon

7 - 30 September 2017

The Art Gallery at NYU

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi have collaborated with the Arts and Humanities division at NYUAD and Autograph ABP to present Bruno Boudjelal: Frantz Fanon at The Project Space.

The installation of twenty-three photographs by Bruno Boudjelal reflects his search for reliable traces of past histories and the imprint of Fanon’s memory.

Boudjelal’s visual journey takes him south of Algiers to Blida, where Frantz Fanon worked as a psychiatrist in a hospital at the time of the Algerian revolution during the 1950s. This is where Fanon developed his most important thesis on racism and colonialism as an intricate web of oppression that was not only economic and political but above all, deeply psychological.

“This series is based on Frantz Fanon; a Martinique born French-Algerian psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary and writer whose work is influential in the fields of post colonial studies. I felt it was important, at a point where Algeria is celebrating its fiftieth birthday, to consider the thoughts and life story of Fanon, his relation with Algeria, his position as one of the most important post-colonial thinkers, and finally the story of his journey as a human being,” said Bruno Boudjelal.

Boudjelal’s photographic endeavour at further uncovering the life of Frantz Fanon echoes the research work of Professor Robert Young, Silver Professor, Dean of Arts and Humanities at New York University Abu Dhabi. Prof. Young recently brought to light unpublished texts written by Fanon, including two previously unknown plays.  “Bruno Boudjelal’s visual exploration of the places where Fanon lived and worked over the course of his life offers an absorbing meditation on his experiences of colonialism and alienation.” – Professor Robert Young

Mapping the contours of Fanon’s life through a series of fleeting images, shadowy figures and ghostly apparitions, Boudjelal travels to Fort-de-France, Fanon’s birthplace in the Caribbean island of Martinique, and to Aïn Kerma village in eastern Algeria, where he is buried. Boudjelal’s enigmatic photographs are presented together with text excerpts from Fanon’s seminal books, Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth, published in 1952 and 1961 respectively.

About Bruno Boudjelal

Bruno Boudjelal is a photographer and member of the VU photography agency, Paris. Born in Montreuil, on the outskirts of Paris, and of Algerian extraction, Boudjelal’s work over the past 10 years has focused on his relationship with his father, and through that, with Algeria as a whole.

His work explores the intricate links between personal identity, national identity and cultural memory. His books Disquiet Days and Vanishing Into Reality were published in 2009 and 2015 respectively by Autograph ABP, the latter in association with le Bec en l’Air Éditions, Marseille.

Curated by

Commissioned by Mark Sealy for Autograph ABP.

Bruno Boudjelal: Frantz Fanon is curated by Renée Mussai at Autograph ABP.

Renée Mussai is Curator and Head of Archive at Autograph ABP. She is currently a PhD candidate at UCL; her research is concerned with black portraiture, photography and the archive.

Additional Info

The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi
Saadiyat Marina District
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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  • Bruno Boudjelal, Famous picture of the arrest of independence leaders (Mostefa Lacheraf, Hocine Aït Ahmed, Mohamed Boudiaf), Algiers 22nd October 1956, Algeria, 2011
  • Bruno Boudjelal, Fort de France, Frantz Fanon’s birth place, Martinique, 2011