Bruno Boudjelal
Frantz Fanon

7 - 30 September 2017

The Art Gallery at NYU

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Autograph ABP's exhibition of twenty-three photographs by Bruno Boudjelal is touring to Abu Dhabi.

Frantz Fanon reflects the artist’s search for reliable traces of past histories and the imprint of memory.

"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."
- Bruno Boudjelal

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. Mapping the contours of Fanon’s life through a series of fleeting images, shadowy figures and ghostly apparitions, Boudjelal travels to Forte de France, Fanon’s birthplace in the Caribbean island of Martinique, and to Aïn Kerma village in eastern Algeria where he is buried. He searches for traces of Fanon in desolate buildings in Tunis, Tunisia - where he lived at the end of his life, after he was banished from Algeria - and visits Nkroful in Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah’s place of birth, where Fanon was sent as an ambassador by the Algerian Provisional Government in 1960.

The resulting images portray a reflective, personal voyage through haunted landscapes imbued with a sense of post-colonial melancholia and disquiet, one that echoes Fanon’s own existentialist journeys in a world scarred by violence which forced him to endlessly question his sense of self, and the power structures at play.

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