Born in 1980 in Lens ()
Lives and works in Choisy-le-roi (France )
Born in 1980 in Lens, Halida Boughriet is an artist of Algerian origins who lives and works in Choisy-le-roi. A graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts de Dunkerque (2000) as well as the Paris fine arts school (2004), she later left to study for a year in the cinema section of the SVA (School of Visual Arts) in New York. She teaches art history and graphic communication in a professional high school.
Her artistic practice includes sculpture, photography, video, and installations. She is directly attuned to the state of the world, paying particular attention to its conflicts and their effects, whether it be on a societal or an individual level. Her approach develops through the impetus of an encounter or communion with others, at the crossroads of documentary images and performance. She works on the relationships that bodies maintain with living spaces. Through photography, her research into bodies can take the form of portraits (Orphelinat Sarajevo, 2007) or of series such as Dream City (2008) that focus on the playgrounds provided for children in various cities across the globe.
As for her videos, they often experiment with systems of intervention that come to disrupt a codified urban existence.
She thus affirms the urgency to construct a memory – that of people and events – in the face of preconceived ideas or stereotypes that are produced by both official versions of History and the news media.
The photographic series Une Mémoire dans l'Oubli (2009-2010) consists of portraits of widows from the Algerian War. They pose, stretched out on a bed, with an all-encompassing backlight that magnifies everything and surpasses the codes of Orientalist painting. Their faces and bodies are like so many living reminders of the Algerian War that are thus also doomed to disappear.
With the film Les Illuminés (2004), she wears a burqa and attaches her camera just behind the mesh over her face, filming her travels along metro corridors under the wild-eyed gazes of passers-by. More than ever, she affirms the necessity of a "third gaze" that does not judge but actively highlights and questions the ambiguities, specific here to the view of the body that each culture presents.
The body can thus be a captor but also a detonator, by way of poetic gestures that perturb the logic of an urban public space that is based on indifference and on the distance maintained between individuals that rub shoulders on a daily basis.
In the film Murmures (2009), Halida Boughriet gives a voice to passers-by while preserving their anonymity: in New York she asks strangers to come to say in a few words what things are the most important to them, in the direction of a wall, facing the camera. This kind of device is radically opposed to a man-in-the-street type of interview process (using frontal shots, with conservative questions) both in its somewhat performative method and its objective. Yet this incitement also evokes a "modern Wall of Lamentations", and reintroduces a form of sacredness to the streets.
In Action (2003), the artist is filmed from the waist up, in a street, as she touches the hands of passers-by, in an unexpected contact that gives rise to various reactions, ranging from reciprocal warmth to avoidance. Through touching, she provokes a form of contact and therefore connection within public space, however fleeting it might be.
This question of touch – a sense that is usually excluded from the reception of an image – recurs in the film Autoportrait (2005). Here, we see images of war directly reflected in an eye that becomes both receiver and sensitive screen – a mise en abyme with an artistic gaze that is always attentive to the traces left by conflicts, both in physical spaces, and in human beings.