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Detail from "Sandouk El Dounia" (The World in a Box),
color photographic print, 240x300cm

Lara Baladi »

Exhibition: 9 May – 15 Jul 2007

Brancolini Grimaldi Arte contemporanea Roma/Firenze

Via dei Tre Orologi, 6a
00197 Roma

Brancolini Grimaldi



closed now Camilla Grimaldi Gallery

"Sandouk El Dounia" (The World in a Box),
color photographic print, 240x300cm

Lara Baladi draws upon a vast mental archive of images which she transforms and reproduces in various mediums and formats. Her installations, videos, and collages, which often stage culturally hybrid scenes, are dense with mythology and visual theory. She addresses memory, both collective and personal, in a codified and multi-cultural language articulated in a world of shifting boundaries. Symbolic appropriations, legible as representations of primeval dreams, contribute to the construction of her numerous visual landscapes.   The works exhibited at Brancolini Grimaldi Arte Contemporanea are essentially two photomontages which mirror one another: "Oum El Dounia" (The Mother of the World) and "Sandouk El Dounia" (The World in a Box). The collages are composed of 10x15 cm color prints that have been photographed and reproduced. "Oum El Dounia" employs characters from fairy tales and myths, which have been translated into Baladi's photographs, creating a context rich in allegory, primarily inspired by the desert's sensation of a "return to beginnings". From "Oum El Dounia", the characters jump into the world of "Sandouk El Dounia", and are transformed into cartoons, television-series heroes, and other iconic figures. "Sandouk El Dounia" is a narrative depicting a complex fantasy world where women rule and Arabic and Western elements intertwine. The various stories are united by the central figure, Teta (Grandmother), who pokes out her tongue at the audience as if to say, "lighten up, life's not that bad." The stories enacted around Teta are contextualized by her presence, but also serve as a cathartic force in the game of life. The exhibition also includes a series of stills from Baladi's latest installation, "Roba Vecchia, The Wheel of Fortune", a life-sized kaleidoscope composed of a shifting array of digital images that the viewer is able to enter and experience. The stills from the installation have been mounted on stainless steel mirrors, creating a powerful series of photographs which resemble stained-glass windows, mandalas, and arabesques. Lara Baladi Born in Beirut in 1969. Lives and works in Cairo.   Lara Baladi's photographs are present in many important international collections, including the Fondation Cartier in Paris, the Museet For Fotokunst in Copenhagen, the Audi Bank in Beirut and the Pori Art Museum in Finland. The artist has participated in several worldwide traveling exhibitions, such Africa Remix (2004-2007), I-Dentity (2005-2007), and Snap Judgments (2006-2008), curated by Okwui Enwezor at the ICP in New York (currently being shown at the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City). Most recently, Baladi's pieces have been presented at the Gulf Art Fair of Dubai in March of 2007 and at the Sharjah Biennial in April of 2007, where she exhibited a new series of work and installations. This is Lara Baladi's first solo exhibition in Italy.

Mermaid (part of collage) from the series "Oum el Dounia"
Oum El Dounia, complete collage