140 x 100 cm
Screenprint on paper
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist and RaebervonStenglin, Zurich
The Soapbox of Schiffbauplatz
The conceptual body of work of Saâdane Afif (born 1970 in Vendôme, France) is based on an interdisciplinary approach in which visual art is combined with texts, music, and performance. Saâdane Afif collaborates with other artists to transform one art form into another. For his exhibitions, he often invites artists, poets, philosophers, actors, musicians, artisans, and performance artists to comment on his works through poems or lyrics written for songs. He then integrates these “commentaries” into his exhibitions by presenting them as extensions of the exhibited objects. “The Soapbox of Schiffbauplatz” is a typical example of Afif’s artistic strategy in which he invited artists from other fields to write a poem about his works. He then transformed these contributions into a textual collage, which was then read aloud by an actress standing on a pedestal made of bronze. He also modified texts, so that they can be set to a tune by a composer to be performed – or transformed into sound sculptures. By translating visual art into media that appeals to the other senses, it gains new forms and interpretations. The project “The Fairytale Recordings” from 2011 is an example of just such a transformation. In this project, the authors and artists Tacita Dean, Tom Morton, Mick Peter, and Lili Reynaud-Dewar, among others, contributed song lyrics that reflect the essence of the artist’s earlier works. These lyrics were either spoken or performed in a performance produced by Afif together with the opera singer Katharina Schrade. The transformed and modified lyrics were ultimately spoken into white porcelain vases, which were then sealed to preserve the verses forever.
Through the metamorphosis from art to literature, music, performance, objects, and posters, Saâdane Afif visualizes the different forces involved in the production of an artwork, while deliberately highlighting artistic authorship and mechanisms of the art world. Most of his works are thus defined by a subtle reflection on culture, civilization, and the moment when art becomes part of public life.
Dominique von Burg