Cairo-born visual artist, writer and poet Anna Boghiguian presents the solo exhibition A Walk in the Unconscious at Carré d’Art – Nîmes Museum of Contemporary Art. Born in 1946, Boghiguian creates installations and paintings that weave a network of relationships and symbolisms between different objects, geographic locations and histories. Her installations often use found objects which she arranges like large theatrical sets where the visitor can walk inside, leaving space between the different elements for movement and different viewpoints.
The show’s title alludes not to the Freudian notion of the unconscious, but to a Jungian understanding of the term.
Although her work has been presented at the Venice Biennale (2015), the Istanbul Biennale (2015), Documenta (2012) and other exhibitions, A Walk in the Unconscious is Boghiguian’s first solo exhibition at a European institution. According to a press release issued by the museum, the show’s title alludes not to the Freudian notion of the unconscious, but to a Jungian understanding of the term, and “the idea that there are archetypal forms that are inherited, universal and impersonal”. This relates to Boghiguian’s way of thinking, where disconnected concepts, facts, materials, cultures and historical events link to each other through a process of dreamlike trains of thought and snippets of encyclopedic trivia.
An example of how Boghiguian weaves these stories together is her work The Salt Traders, which was first presented at the Istanbul Biennale in 2015: a large-scale installation that referred to the importance of salt for humans and the role this substance has played in human history, from its life-giving properties to the colonisation of America and the transatlantic slave trade. The installation included heaps of salt of course, but also the sails of trade ships from the Nile, panels of honeycombs (because the chemical symbol for salt is a hexagon), and rocks from salt mines.
Anna Boghiguian’s A Walk in the Unconscious, curated by Jean-Marc Prevost, continues at Carré d’Art – Museum for Contemporary Art (Place de la Maison Carrée, 30000, Nîmes, France) through 19 February 2017.
Anna Boghiguian, The Salt Traders, 2015. Courtesy the artist & Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hambourg/Beyrouth. © Anna Boghiguian. Via Carré d’Art.