Lydia Ourahmane

A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane

Jun 28 — Aug 05, 2018

This solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane combines new and older works by the artist that are continually in processes of alteration and revision. Dealing with acts of displacement, the presence of absence and nonlinear histories, Ourahmane’s installation at Kevin Space navigates the possibility to disperse individual and localised memories inscribed within materials into collective and spatial experiences.

The English word “displacement” encompasses both the movement of materials and people, inherent in Ourahmane’s works, where the latter is often symbolized and brought into experience through the former. In German, for instance, one can distinguish between „Vertreibung“ describing an individual or a certain group of people being forced to leave through political or economical measurements, and „Verschiebung“ which relates to the movement of materials, or an idea, or object, from one place and reading to another. It is synonymous with a ‚shift' of perspective or context.

The unresolved presence of almost 400kg of fertile, red soil smuggled from Medea, Algeria, is walked on and spread and inhaled. The material acts as witness to the histories imbued in its present state which permeate without changing its physical properties. This physical confrontation is initiated upon entrance into the space, where silver door handles, treated black with sulphur, fade back to their original color through touch, acting as a record of each body having been present.

A folder of documents features those relating to her grandfather and her father, as both were born during colonial rule. By law, people of the post-colony are still eligible for French nationality, as Algeria was considered an extension to France.

These legal bureaucratic procedures are however an act of impossibility for most Algerians as citizenship needs to be claimed on French soil, turning the unattainability into a perversion. Ourahmane records the ongoing process and legal model for herself claiming French Nationality by right of blood, confronting citizenship through the quantification of documents and bodies.


Lydia Ourahmane (b. 1992, Saϊda, Algeria) lives and works between London and Oran. Exhibitions include Manifesta 12: Gardens of Coexistence, Palermo, Droit du Sang, Schaufenster im Hofgarten, Kunstverein München, Munich, The you in us, Chisenhale Gallery, London (solo exhibition), 2018 New Museum Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, a good neighbour, 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017), Social Calligraphies, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2016), and Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2014).

List of works

p.H. 8.7.
356 kg of fertile soil smuggled from Medea, Algeria
Dimensions variable
2015/2018

Medea is 83 km south of Algeria’s capital Algiers. Until 1962, Medea was a garrison town for the French army. At the height of the civil war and terrorism of the 90’s Medea was one of the towns which suffered some of the worst massacres, carried out by extremist rebel groups becoming part of what was known as the triangle of death between Medea, Chlef and Blida. Today it is one of the most agriculturally rich areas in Algeria.

Droit du Sang (Blood Right)
Application for French Nationality
2018 –– ongoing

By law, Algerian citizens born prior to independence are still eligible to obtain a French passport, since the former colony was considered an extension of the French empire. In reality, however, this process is unattainable, as it must be claimed from French soil which can only be reached by fleeing illegally.

The work serves as a model and confronts citizenship and identity through bureaucratic procedures. The project records the process of claiming French citizenship by right of blood, as Ourahmane’s grandfather and father were born prior to Algerian independence. Over the course of the exhibition, formal paperwork will accumulate as the artist moves through the systems necessary to obtain a French passport. Momentarily, Ourahmane’s father is awaiting a conversion of his Algerian issued birth certificate into a French issued birth certificate. Then he will be able to submit his application for citizenship from anywhere in the world.

Tayeb Ourahmane Passport (Front)
Tayeb Ourahmane Passport (Page 1-3)
Tayeb Ourahmane Passport (Page 4-7)
Tayeb Ourahmane Passport (Back)
Marriage Certificate
Fatima Ourahmane (née Hassani) Birth Certificate French
Fatima Ourahmane (née Hassani) Birth Certificate Arabic
Original Father’s Birth Certificate
Authentication of Original Father’s Birth Certificate - Authenticated on 17/08/16
Authentication of Father’s Birth Certificate
Email Jean-Paul Mopo Kobanda 10.55 Mon docier
Email from Lawyer in Paris
Lydia Ourahmane Birth Certificate - confirmed on 27/11/13
Lydia Ourahmane Birth Certificate (Arabic)
Application for French Nationality
Application for French Nationality
Application for French Nationality
Tayeb Ourahmane Military Card (Inner)
Tayeb Ourahmane Military Card (Outer)

Door handles
Silver door handles, treated black with sulphur
2018

A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane
A solo presentation by Lydia Ourahmane