The architecture of Fernand Pouillon, the city and its mutations are at the heart of this exhibition.
In 2011, when Stéphane Couturier set foot for the first time in Algiers, he was shocked by the complexity of this city and astonished to discover the unique housing estates built by Fernand Pouillon. When the stones of these urban projects spoke to him, The artist immediately felt the need to linger on... to explore the architectural and human aspects within these places.
Such an in depth exploration, as opposed to a superficial glance, required a survey of the structures, squaring the façades and meeting the inhabitants. After being immersed in the projects of Pouillon for nearly six full years, Stéphane Couturier realized that although it was possible to amass an interesting body of work, the colorful people and sands of time would never permit him to create a comprehensive image of these cities. The Artist discovered that Pouillon’s landscapes had, in fact, become “living architecture.”
The stones and monumental facades presented here tell the story of Algeria and also of Pouillon, the great humanist-architect. Today, despite the wounds of time, these stones remain standing, as monuments that bear witness to the reality behind Fernand Pouillon’s own words, “For the first time perhaps in modern times, we had installed men in a monument. And these men who were the poorest of poor Algeria understood this.”
Presented in this exhibition is Stéphane Couturier’s rather kaleidoscopic vision of Climat de France. Through the exploration of different photographs, videos and the monumental canvas installed on the dungeon of Chateau de Belcastel, we are immersed within a pivotal period in contemporary Algerian history. It is only through the unique vision of this contemporary fine artist that we can discover the faces and colors of the communities that lived within these urban projects built by the incomparable humanist architect.
Ironically, Stéphane Couturier and Fernand Pouillon never knew each other, but they have come together in this place through a collaboration with Futur Composé.
-Heidi Leigh Curator