26 August – 26 October 2014

From the collection: Saâdane Afif Technical Specifications, Room 2

Saâdane Afif. Technical Specifications, Room 2, 2008
"Technical Specifications" is a multimedia spatial installation whose versatility at first appears puzzling to the visitor, sending him off on an exploration between luminous, kinetic and resonant objects in the room and lyric texts on the wall.

The works of the French conceptual artist Saâdane Afif are like a discrete system that is constantly reconstituting itself by transferring and translating its contents over a prolonged period. The concept underlying the works undergoes a metamorphosis effected in performances, typefaces and sculptures. Invited collaborators create variations on a particular work among other things by interpreting it in pieces of music, poems and performances. As a result, Afif’s works exist in different forms. The works of the spatial installation "Technical Specifications, Room 2" were part of the exhibition of the same name at the Witte de With Center in Rotterdam in 2008. The specifications of his earlier works, that Afif used as a “manual” in order to produce different works with exactly the same technical specifications, formed the starting point. In addition to the image labels of the earlier works, the multi-part, space-embracing installation presents the newly produced ones, thereby weaving his works into a complex and yet open system.
The free-standing three-part installation "Untitled (This is the Way You & I Measure the World, 2004)" consists of three perspex sheets whose materiality reflects the room in iridescent colours. By means of the simple act of tying together, Afif creates a concave sculpture. Rotated by a motor, it causes not only the viewer, but also the adjacent artworks to appear in a constantly changing optical distortion.
The wooden polyhedron of "Untitled (Blue Time, 2004)" is reminiscent of a drum, with sounds generated by a clock motor inside the object emanating from within. The microphone and guitar amplifier additionally increase the sound towards the outside. Time, a recurrent motif in Afif’s works, is made apparent here. "Untitled (More, More, 2003)" is a neon sign with the motif of an anchor. In front we see stacks of photocopies of a tattoo along with a poem in which its bearer describes his reasons. The tattoo motif thus exists in three different forms: as an illuminated installation, a poem, and a photocopy.
Texts form an integral part of Afif’s works. Accordingly, three texts appear on the walls of the room, each belonging to one of the three installations. The wall texts with poems or song lyrics are written by fellow artists, critics and friends commissioned by Afif to compose their own interpretations of the piece as lyrical texts. Afif’s complex works create an atmosphere in which previous events are palpable and yet absent. The ticking of time, the reflection in the glare of the iridescent, rotating display evokes memories of the classical motif of melancholia.