Two series based on archival photographs of lighthouses are also on view. Both Registre du phare (2011) and Museum of Traces (2013) use Algerian lighthouses that stood standing though French rule as investigations of the ambiguities of colonialism and as a way to glimpse the lives of the people who manned them. The images—which show measuring instruments, log books, maps, and objects particular to French Algerians, like crystal decanters—are labeled in French as if tagged in a museum. Also on display are other starkly metaphorical photographs seen though Sedira’s matter-of-fact lens. In the photograph The Lovers (2008), two rusted, dilapidated boat hulls lean against each other, moored in shallow water. The imposing, large-scale color C-prints of her Sugar Silo (2014) series subtly invoke the enormity of the sugar trade and its impact on the economies of such countries as Cuba, Madagascar, and Brazil. The photographs are a vibrant example of the power of images, and of Sedira’s ability to convey so much meaning and information without overwhelming her viewers.
“Present Tense” is on view at Taymour Grahne, New York, Nov. 12, 2015–Jan. 16, 2016.