Frightening looks, watching you sideways. Mysterious. Creepy, frightening faces, accentuated by those nagging eyes, which seem to be watching you, like something out of a horror movie, monstrous, deformed, disjointed beings and other strangenesses, this is what you discover when you enter in the gallery space of the French Institute of Algiers where a very beautiful, but enigmatic exhibition of the young painter is held. The eye seems to be the centerpiece through which this exhibition is born, since it is the mirror of the soul where a thousand and one states of mind are reflected, composed and broken down. Thanks to a perfect mastery of the line between shadow and light, the artist expresses in his own way the complex and macabre whirlwind that can lie in each of us. But beyond the deep coldness that can be seen in these characters painted with meticulousness, it is worth highlighting the finesse of the brush of this artist who paints bodies, faces, sometimes in a raw realism and sometimes in a strident surrealism. And this is where the originality of these works lies, in this tight thread that separates the real from the supernatural and grotesque fantasy that comes from the Baroque period, even from the Middle Ages. pictorial creations made by a young esthete who is at her first exhibition, after that of the French Cultural Institute of Annaba which won by highlighting this artist and taking her out of darkness to take her towards the light by going to the meeting of a public, which can only be admiring in front of these paintings and far from it, not to remain unmoved in front of such a talent, for which one can only make allegiance and take off one’s hat… If these paintings impress, they can only raise many questions. Engage our psyche.
In “Reversed Skin” we perceive anxiety, dread, strength, but also the grotesque hidden against a background of human fragility. “Inverted skin” is the title of this exhibition, which is very disturbing at first glance. “I delayed the deadline for a long time. The creatures were becoming more and more numerous, they stirred in my head, delved into my memories, spoke, commented, judged, they lived in me, in my poor head… And I didn’t want them there. die. So, one day I decided to free them, to free myself. says the young artist, born in 1997 in a small village near the town of Batna. “When I met Aya Bennacer for the first time, what marked me was the way in which her gaze, and all her gestures came alive at the evocation of her work as a painter; it is the desire to show his works, which filled the space and did not leave me indifferent”, underlines the director of the French Institute of Annaba.
Eyes watching you
On the biography side, we learn that Aya Bennacer has always developed a passion for the arts and culture. Very young, she already chose to escape into the world of literature where she found her place, far from a world that seemed to her, already at the time, particularly hostile. After a technical baccalaureate, she pursued higher studies in French language and literature at the ENS de Constantine, thus strengthening the already solid link she had with literature and philosophy.
A disturbing world
In 2019, an irrepressible need for expression pushes her towards the visual arts, and painting in particular, the starting point of her practice as a self-taught artist. At first, her art is a description of her readings, from which she extracts images. This is how she begins by drawing portraits of Michel Foucault, Franz Kafka or Vladimir Lenin as a child, philosophers and authors whom she idolizes. With time and practice, she begins to develop her own vision and expression of the world. Thus his painting evolves and his technique matures. Aya Bennacer is also a musician and singer, and it is particularly in blues and jazz that she delights. She also does sculpture and creates jewelry. “For this first exhibition, Aya Bennaceur has chosen works that structure her, such as the inter-connected vertebrae that support this spine, making themselves necessary for the rest of this dislocated body (Vohle), tortured, evoking the dances of death in art. of the Middle Ages. Like a proudly exhibited Vanity, she questions our humanity and the ephemeral condition of existence, this miraculous impulse that retains life in the body represented” can we read in the descriptive text of this exhibition. A must see!