Through sculpture, performance and writing, Tarik Kiswanson’s practice reclaims and hybridizes personal, cultural and political histories and, in doing so, seeks to produce particular modalities of relation and perception. The form and materiality of his work are inextricably linked to questions of exile, identity, and hybridity. He eschews a stable notion of identity in favor of conceiving conceptual and formal strategies that articulate a fluid “politics of identity”— one that encompasses the various collisions of culture that have shaped both his personal experience and aesthetic practice.
The reduction, refraction, multiplication and disintegration of forms in his work evoke the contingency of memory, particularly as it relates to the contexts of displacement, “betweenness,” and first generation migration. As social-cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai notes, “migration tends to be accompanied by a confusion about what exactly has been lost, and thus of what needs to be recovered or remembered.”Kiswanson’s work evinces an engagement with the poetics of métissage: a means of writing and surviving between multiple conditions and contexts. This crossroad, as cultural studies scholar Paul Gilroy writes, “is a special location where unforeseen, magical things can happen” and “might be an appropriate conceptual vehicle for thinking the dialectical tension between cultural roots and cultural routes.” Tarik Kiswanson’s forthcoming exhibition with Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard emerges from this space. Upon entering the exhibition spaces, visitors will encounter an uncanny administrative landscape: a levitating collection of sculptures. This presentation marks the first chapter in a new body of works inspired by a common element of bureaucratic architecture: archive and filing cabinets. The exhibition asks how we might understand an archive of loss. How might we translate its silent testimony? A filing cabinet isn’t merely a passive object, but a container for abstracted lives: bodies reduced to densities of information.