It’s arduous to get a transparent view of the ocean from inside Algiers, though the capital is in-built terraces that cascade down the steep slopes ringing its monumental bay. In Hichem Merouche’s first solo exhibition, “Pleasant Islands,” the artist grapples with the isolation of town—a paradox, provided that its inhabitants are sometimes caught in a perpetual state of departure.
A trio of booming, melancholy notes fill rhizome gallery’s early-twentieth-century inside, resonating off the lengthy French home windows and the brightly coloured cement-tile ground. Repérages (all works cited 2022), is an hour-long sound work composed from numerous recordings fabricated from boats moored within the bay blasting their horns to commemorate the November anniversary of the Algerian revolution or the deaths of key political figures. Beneath the guise of a nationalist celebration, the vibration of their calls makes the potential for elsewhere tangible.
For The place do seagulls go once they die, 2022, a line of delicate seagull bones extends alongside three partitions of the gallery. Merouche collected these stays throughout his every day journeys to the Frioul islands, an archipelago off the coast of Marseille, simply throughout the Mediterranean from the Algerian capital. The exhibition attracts a parallel between these desolate isles—as soon as used to quarantine sailors earlier than they set foot on European soil—and the scattered personal areas wherein individuals spend their lives in Algiers. The bones hint a faint but visceral horizon line: a reminder that each departure entails loss.