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At first, Foyer seems to be a projection without film, where the only thing visible is a palpitating white screen. Voices accompany this white emptiness. They are spoken by people who approach the cameraman at work on the film, questioning him about what he is doing. In turn, an amateur photographer, a curious passerby, a policeman and a group of young men all approach the man filming.

As the situation develops, the discussions reveal to the spectators the principles of a film experience in progress, of the film they are actually watching. The film experience intrigues people, it interrogates and ultimately transforms the camera into a foyer (in the sense of a hearth), around which people gather, to speak, discuss and listen. At first centered on the camera, these conversations quickly reveal singular points of view, which trace the forms of a particular social and political landscape. They offer a glimpse of the context in which a tentative work experience is unfolding, searching for its way in the agitated world.

Title : Foyer
Length : 31 min.
Language : Tunisian arabic
Subtitles : French or English
Production : Spectre in coproduction with La Fabrique Phantom
Producer : Olivier Marboeuf
Associate producer : Cédric Walter
Year : 2016

Esquisse, pour E.Dekyndt

This five-minute sequence shot shows a flag that has the quality of being able to show and capture the landscape. Combining the screen and cinematographic projection, this flag becomes an instrument to see. Sensitive to the slightest variations of light, it becomes an indicator of atmospheric nuances.


This work was produced especially for the exhibition "Instruments" (13 to 24 September 2017) at the Jeu de Paume (Paris).
Ismaïl Bahri and Youssef Chebbi, Esquisse, pour E.Dekyndt, 2017, video HD 16/9, 5 min. Production Jeu de Paume.

Ismaïl Bahri

"Impermanence lies at the heart of the work of the Franco-Tunisian artist Ismaïl Bahri. Placing a sheet of wind-tossed paper in front of his camera lens, slowing down falling water drops by making them slide along a thread, observing the reflection of the city in a glass filled with ink held in his hand as he walks along: Ismaïl Bahri makes elementary and empirical gestures, and pays attention to “what is happening”, and what effect these operations will have on him. The artist positions himself as an observer; he gropes around, and talks of “shortsightedness” in relation to his work. He then sets up what he calls a “capture device” for these gestures, usually using video, but also photography and sound, without any specialization. It is quite often outside of the frame of the image that meaning emerges, in the perceptible presence of the surrounding world, which is suddenly revealed."

Text by François Piron.

Ismaïl Bahri’s work has been presented at La Criée (Rennes), Jeu de Paume (Paris), Les églises (Chelles), Staatliche Kunsthalle (Karlsruhe), Kunst Im Tunnel (Düsseldorf), the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon), among others. His films have been selected at international film festivals such as TIFF (Toronto), NYFF (New york), IFFR (Rotterdam), FID (Marseille). Ismaïl Bahri made an exhibition at the Jeu de Paume (Paris) in 2017.