"The work of Djamel Tatah uses all the powers of abstraction by its austerity, its composition and its surface. It thus creates a relationship between spaces, a moving vibration that he offers to the representation of an individual. The individual is familiar, like one from large cities and at the same time solitary, silent and timeless like those of Beckett or Giacometti. More and more, there is the development of a metaphysical and daily scene in his recent works that his painting makes profoundly contemporary," explains Olivier Kaeppelin.
Djamel Tatah was born in 1959 in Saint-Chamond in the Loire. During his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Saint-Etienne (1981-1986) he discovers many common points with the American abstract painting of the 1940s-1950s, English and German painting of the 1950s-70s and the Arte Povera. His early paintings uniquely represent figures on layered, colored backgrounds with apparent brush strokes. With a few exceptions, he choses not to name these works to avoid putting the viewer into a clear narrative interpretation or documentary.
In 1989, he moved to Marseille where he developed an important part of his creative method. By combining the ancient technique of wax painting, photography and, in 1994, digital techniques, Tatah presents full scale human figures with no ground line in increasingly uniform, colored spaces. Figures and backgrounds appear as two inseparable elements connected in parallel by the layers of color. A tense dialogue occurs between these vibrant spaces and the figures which are stripped of all expression; anecdotal, solitary, discreet, head-on.
In 1996, he starts using the traditional chassis (that replaced the salvaged wood used until this point) which makes it easier to produce large-scale works on the themes of urban life, war and demise. This is an opportunity for the artist to create specific paintings in which one figure is reproduced over a dozen times. Repetition has emerged as a way to experiment with an abstract representation of modern man. In a more sustained way, abstraction monopolizes reality to play with it or even make it disappear.
The artist exhibits at the Galerie Eric Dupont, the gallery Liliane and Michel Durand-Dessert in 1999 and the Galerie Kamel Mennour, among others. He has had many personal and group exhibitions throughout his career: the Salamanca Arts Centre (2002), the Museum of Grenoble (2004), and MAC Lyon and Township Museum (2005), Centre Pompidou (2006), Centre d'Art Contemporain Le Parvis in Tarbes (2007), at the Triennale "La Force de l'Art" at the Grand Palais (2008), the Museum of Fine Arts in Nantes (2008), MAMAC Nice (2009) the Macval at the Villa Medici, the Centre d'Art Contemporain "The Hollow of Hell" in Thiers (2010), Château de Chambord, the City National History of Immigration (2011).
The exhibition catalogue will feature texts by Eric de Chassey, director of the Villa Medici and Olivier Kaeppelin.
The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Public Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art of Algiers (www.mama-dz.com).