Saâdane Afif & Mount Moon Take Art to the L Train

June 26, 2012 | By French Culture

Wednesday evening was the opening Saâdane Afif’s solo show at Ludlow 38, the satellite space for the Goethe-Institut in the Lower East Side. Afif is a French artist working and living in Berlin, and has spent the last six months in residence at ISCP, as part of the Cultural Services/Institut français residency program.

Afif’s work regularly references music, and often combines lyrics and sounds with prefabricated or ready-made objects. In previous years Afif has asked fellow artists, curators and critics to write song lyrics in reaction to his work, and has then used these as wall-texts to accompany the objects. For this exhibition Afif invited a local street musician, Mount Moon, to compose and perform songs based on these texts. Last night both Afif and Mount Moon were at Ludlow 38 for the exhibition’s opening, but in the coming weeks the text will remain on the walls of the gallery, while the songs themselves roam the subway with Mount Moon.

Each year the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, in partnership with the Institut francais in Paris, awards four six month residencies to French artists to live and work in the USA. The residents are chosen by a committee of French and American visual arts professionals. The current artists are Saadane Afif (at ISCP), and Neil Beloufa (at Triangle Arts). This July we welcome two new artists, Camille Henrot at ISCP, and Jean-Baptiste Bernardet at Triangle Arts. Both will be in residence through the end of December.

Previous artists have included Mathieu Mercier, Tatiana Trouvé, Laurent Grasso, Denis Castellas, Quistrebert brothers and Isabelle Cornaro, among many others.

This work was also a result of a very unique program, Carte Blanche. Carte Blanche was created by the French Embassy in 2011 to promote French-American collaborations in the fields of performing and/or visual arts. French artists are invited to the US to develop artistic projects with their American counterparts preferably outside of the conventional institutional frame. The goal of the program is to create works that could not be made in any other situation, in response to the artist’s encounter with American society.

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