Navigation – Plan du site

Visual Artists from the Bled. From Sadek Rahim to the Hirak, Contemporary Algerian Art’s Quest for Autonomy

Florian Gaité
Traduction de Phoebe Clarke
p. 136-154
Cet article est une traduction de :
Plasticien du bled. De Sadek Rahim au hirak, l’art contemporain algérien en quête d’autonomie

Notes de la rédaction

Florian Gaité is the fourth recipient of the grant for the writing and publication of a critical essay that was created in 2016 by the collaboration between the Institut français, the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA) and Critique d’art1. The grant, determined by a yearly call for applications, enables the recipients to visit one or more art events of their choice and to critically analyse them in an article. It is part of a wider programme that supports writing on contemporary art and its international dissemination initiated by the Institut français in the field of visual arts and in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and the Direction Générale de la création artistique. This programme has made it possible, in collaboration with the INHA, to create different measures promoting the mobility of scholars and art critics, the dissemination of their ideas and the translation of their writings.

Florian Gaité’s grant took him to Algeria during the Spring of 2019. Thus, his examination of the means for conceptualising the autonomy of contemporary art in Algeria coincided with the beginning of mass protests – the Hirak – against political immobilism and in favour of the reorganisation of social space. The resulting essay takes into account the intrusion of these events into his investigation, carefully avoiding any hurried judgement, developing on the contrary a qualified reflexion that takes on different guises: from a close-up analysis of Sadek Rahim’s work – whose monographic exhibition in Oran2 is at the heart of Florian Gaité’s reflection – to the attentive observation of official and alternative structures that outline the field of contemporary art in Algeria, to the potential hybridisations between the latter and the effects of the Hirak. Attempting to circumvent the pitfalls of a power-tainted gaze from the outside as well as of an analysis subjected to a sole theoretic framework, however important it may be (decolonial, for instance), the text you are about to read constantly reflects on the critic’s position as well as on the very definition of what is “contemporary” in art, trapped between the patrimonial function promoted by institutions and the testimonial function that is so vital in times of conflict.

We hope you enjoy it!

Elitza Dulguerova, Research adviser in the field of 18th to 21st-Century Art History, INHA

Extrait du texte

Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en novembre 2020.


Contemporary art in the public institutional network: fighting conservatism
The means of autonomy: alternative projects and para-institutional structures
Choosing to exhibit in Algeria, a possible and political decision
Visual translations in the work of Sadek Rahim: neither localism nor globalism
The contemporaneity of Algerian art: is the hirak revolutionising art?
The rise of critical thought: challenges and developing evolutions

Aperçu du texte

Invitation card for the opening of Sadek Rahim : Gravity3, Oran, 2019 © Faouzi Louadah

Producing a critical essay on Algerian art means laying aside most of one’s inter...

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Florian Gaité, « Visual Artists from the Bled. From Sadek Rahim to the Hirak, Contemporary Algerian Art’s Quest for Autonomy », Critique d’art, 53 | 2019, 136-154.

Référence électronique

Florian Gaité, « Visual Artists from the Bled. From Sadek Rahim to the Hirak, Contemporary Algerian Art’s Quest for Autonomy », Critique d’art [En ligne], 53 | Automne/hiver, mis en ligne le 26 novembre 2020, consulté le 19 janvier 2020. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/critiquedart.53876

Haut de page


Florian Gaité

Florian Gaité is an art and dance critic, and a member of the AICA who works for the written press and the radio (France Culture). He holds a Philosophy Doctorate from the Paris Ouest Nanterre university, is a member of the ACTE Institute and is a teaching assistant at Paris I and Paris VIII universities. Following his stays in Algeria, he is currently devising a new form of critical writing, the first example of which will be the upcoming publication of a volume of collected critiques, Tout à danser s’épuise (Sombre torrents).

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d'auteur


Haut de page
  • Logo Les Archives de la critique d’art
  • OpenEdition Journals