Saâdane Afif’s multi-facetted oeuvre may, in many respects, conjure up the musical practice of the remix. Using borrowings, appropriation and displacement, the artist re-makes contemporary cultural complexity in its many different dimensions: social, historical, psychological and cultural, in the strict sense of the term. In his works he juxtaposes fragments of so-called “low-brow” and “high-brow” cultures, producing a hybridization which involves critical irony with regard to our unconscious structures as well as a creative cross-fertilization. The context plays an important part in Saâdane Afif’s oeuvre, for he prefers to work in situ rather than in a studio. The artist is not involved in any visual language in particular, but makes equal use of installation, sculpture, drawing, writing and curating (Promenade au Zoo, Lyon Contemporary Art Biennial, 2007), commissioning, if need be, certain works from other artists. References to musical cultures, and more specifically to rock, have been recurrent in his praxis since 2004, the year when he commissioned composers to write songs interpreting some of his projects. In multiplying the translations of his works (texts, remakes, songs), Afif thwarts any kind of pigeonholing and reverts to basic issues connected with the meaning of art and its perception. Vice de forme, produced in 2009, brought artists and art critics together around a composition of songs and sonatas inspired from a Man Ray work; Anthologie de l’Hunour Noir at Espace 15 in the Centre Pompidou presented a coffin, a scale model of the Piano & Rogers building, accompanied by wall poems on death, beauty and irony.
Born in Vendôme and living in Berlin since 2003, Saâdane Afif studied at the Bourges National School of Fine Arts (obtaining his degree in 1995), and then at the Nantes school for a post-graduate degree in 1998. A resident at the Villa Médicis Hors les Murs in Glasgow in 2002, he has won several prizes including the one awarded by the Fondation Prince Pierre in 2006 and the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2009. He has had shows both in France (Notre Histoire, Palais de Tokyo, 2006; Vice de forme: In search of melodies, Galerie Michel Rein, 2009, and Anthologie de l’Humour Noir, Centre Georges Pompidou, 2010) and abroad (Black Spirits, Kassel Documenta, 2007; Feedback, EACC in Spain, 2009).