Follow Suit, Kotama Bouabane’s newest body of work, looks at a theme park just outside of Beijing called, The World. Promoted with the slogan, “See the entire world without ever leaving Beijing,” it features over 100 world famous international monuments. Experiencing explosive growth, China is portrayed as a country inescapably influenced by globalization. Bouabane’s images depict a place hybridized between the signs and ideologies of the East and West. In an ersatz landscape, the shifts between documentary and staged photography are difficult to identify. The artist skilfully blurs the distinction between the two. A photograph of a lone house with a terra cotta roof and a manicured lawn mimics an empty American suburb. A faded model of New York’s twin towers replicate the past in the present, creating a ghosting effect. Other images play off the duplicate to create a similar sense of the uncanny. By varying the scale of the photos presented in the exhibition, the artist toys with the diorama effect, distorting how we perceive objects within it. Bouabane’s focus on the prevalence of copy, imitation, and pastiche in China are indicative of the nature of the photographic medium itself.
Kotama Bouabane has an MFA in Studio Arts, Photography from Concordia University, Montreal and a AOCAD from OCAD. His work has been exhibited in many galleries including Parisian Laundry (Montreal), Jen Bekman (New York) and Gallery TPW (Toronto). He has received many awards and grants and most recently in 2010 the Roloff Beny Foundation Fellowship in Photography. He lives and works in Toronto.
is a featured exhibition of Scotiabank CONTACT, an annual festival of photography. http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/featured-exhibitions/959