Saâdane Afif describes himself as a “talkative conceptual artist.” His diverse practice – shot through with humour – calls upon the savoir-faire of others, whether artisans, musicians, or writers. He creates projects that question the very concept of the unique artwork or individual creator. Instead, he simultaneously collapses and expands notions of authorship by chains of collaborations that function as feedback loops or echo chambers. In fact, since 2004, he regularly commissions writers and artists to create lyrics inspired by his artworks. These texts have become key material, verbalizing what happens in the mind of the beholder, the process of interpretation that underpins the relationship between art and its audience. He later commissions music composers to interpret these poems into pieces of music. The spectrum is broad and can refer to different genres from pop music to classical songs.
For his participation in the group show „TOKYO–Sensing the Cultural Magma of the Metropolis“ which took place at MOT Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art in 2015, Afif took collaboration and translation as a starting point. He joined forces with the local band Her Ghost Friend to render his interpretation of the city of Tokyo which was the theme of the exhibition. The above mentioned lyrics were presented on the walls of the exhibition space. For the first time, they were translated into Japanese and printed out on the paper used to shape seven traditional Japanese hanging lanterns. Each lamp embodies a song and is lit for the duration of the musical piece it corresponds to. This installation is emblematic of Afif’s creative process: by giving several shapes to the same artwork, which can be seen as a poem, a song or a light, he creates a web of allusions between art and its possible media. It expands our perception of an artwork and beyond, playing on a permanent potential of variation.
Saâdane Afif (born 1970 in Vendôme, France) lives and works in Berlin. His work has been most recently exhibited at the Museum Tinguely (2018), Basel, Simultanhalle Cologne (2017), Cologne, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst (2016), Frankfurt, 56th Venice Biennale (2015), Venice.
Solo presentations were held at the Kunsthalle Wien (2018), Wien, Wiels Contemporary Art Center (2018), Brussels, La Panacée (2017), Montpellier, Atelier Hermés (2016), Seoul, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (2015), Berlin, Institut d‘Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne (2013), Museum für Moderne Kunst - MMK Zollamt, Frankfurt (2012), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010).
In 2019 he will have a solo show at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City and at l’Espace Ricard in Paris.
Afif has been awarded the Prix Meurice pour l'Art Contemporain (2015), Award Günther-Peill-Stiftung (2012), and the Prix Marcel Duchamp (2009) amongst others.
Paroles (Songbook), ed. Zoë Gray, WIELS, Brussels, 2018
Ici, Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren 2017
Fountain 1917. Fontaine 1917. Fontäne 1917, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, 2017
Affiches, ed. Triangle Books ad Xavier Hufkens, Brussels 2014
Fountaines, ed. Triangle Books ad Xavier Hufkens, Brussels 2014
Saâdane Afif – Anthologie de l´humour noir, ed. Centre Pompidou, Paris 2010
Saâdane Afif: Saturne et les Remakes, text by Michel Gauthier, M19, 2010
Technical Specifications, ed. Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam 2008
Saâdane Afif – Lyrics, catalogue of the exhibition in Palais de Tokyo, Paris 2005