Susanna Kulli

Silvie & Chérif Defraoui

25 Oct - 18 Dec 2013

© Silvie & Chérif Defraoui
ROOMS (Lieux de mémoire VI) 1976–2003
25 October – 18 December 2013

“One who comes upon a river may have to build a bridge to cross it; but after crossing it, he need not take the bridge with him.” Chérif Defraoui, Ecrits, Genf, 1995, S.151

From its beginnings in 1975 to the present, the work of Silvie & Chérif Defraoui has engendered a historical and artistic body that forms an integral element of what we call, with a generalizing term, the art of the 1970s.

Their multifaceted oeuvre from this period presents unexpected artistic forms, often involving materials and themes, objects and techniques, that were unheard of at the time. The entire series, which brought the Defraouis international renown, is collectively titled Archives du Futur. All pieces relate to this key concept, which synthesizes or questions a totality of space and time.

With Rooms (Lieux de mémoire VI) (1976–2003), Galerie Susanna Kulli now revisits a set of works Silvie & Chérif Defraoui created together in the 1970s.

In these large-format photographs, a superimposition takes place on the level of image, architecture, and writing: “The order of architecture determines the narrative, and the projections that build up in the place restore to it a diaphanous and contradictory memory. In the painted words, space fades into the photographic image,” the artists write.

Mounted beneath each picture is a framed pair of words typeset in capital letters that complements it; additional words, written in brushstrokes, are visible in the photographs. Such combinations of text and image were widespread in 1970s photo art; “here they serve to activate a complex process of reflection and integration. ‘Ut pictura poesis’—the ancient contest between the arts seems to have erupted afresh in Rooms.”
(Konrad Bitterli in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition of Silvie Defraoui’s art at the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, 2004)

Silvie Defraoui, b. 1935, lives and works in Vufflens-le-Château and Corbera de Llobregat; Chérif Defraoui (1932 – 1994)
Created in 1974, her “Mixed Media Studio,” the “Atelier des médias mixtes” at the École supérieure d’art visuel (ESAV), Geneva, introduced students to wide-ranging perspectives beyond the familiar structures of art education.

We are also proud to present a newly published book: Silvie Defraoui & Hans Rudolf Reust, “Les formes du récit II” (Im Rahmen der Ausstellung / On the occasion of the exhibition, Edition Galerie Susanna Kulli), 2013.

Tags: Silvie Defraoui