An ecological, urban and architectural anatomy inspired by Tunisia's palms and eucalyptus trees: a conceptual, committed and critical gesture of renovation of Tunis' municipal greenhouse at the Parc du Belvédère, which questions the very same definition of an artwork, the place of the artist and the role of cultural institutions.
Effet de serre is a research (2012), exhibition (2021) and publication (2022) project, in which the artist Farah Khelil is committed to renovating the municipal greenhouse of the city of Tunis at Parc du Belvedere with an artistic production grant. His approach questions the definition of the art object and the exhibition as well as the place of the artist in cultural institutions. Thus, the artist emancipates himself from the demands of the market by directing a scholarship to support artistic production towards actions of general interest and common good. Then, the greenhouse hosts an immersive display composed of polymorphic and heterogeneous elements that retrace the architectural history of the Palmarium of Tunis in a dialectic between eucalyptus and palm, tradition and postcolonial modernity.
The ontological questions of the image and the exhibition highlight a dualistic and dichotomous system of thought that separates Nature and Culture, Self and Other, Subject and Object. They allow a formal translation of the relationship that art history has with the material, institutional and cultural conditions of the construction of images as a surface effect. Theatres, gardens, bestiaries, museums and greenhouses thus appear to be appropriate models of study suitable for mapping out a critique of the conception of the image and its exhibition as it was inherited from Europe. Richly documented, Effet de Serre brings together previously unpublished essays by Clelia Coussonnet, Adnen Jdey, Hedi Khelil and Farah Khelil. This publication accompanies and furthers the eponymous research and exhibition project conceived by Farah Khelil in October 2021 in the municipal greenhouse of the Jardin des plantes of the Belvédère in Tunis. It unveils a corpus of works and texts produced within the framework of this project, which is based on a study of the history of the Palmarium of Tunis as well as on the dialectic of the palm tree and the eucalyptus.
Published following Farah Khelil's exhibition "Greenhouse effect" at the Jardin des Plantes, Tunis, in 2021.
Farah Khelil (born 1980 in Carthage, Tunisia) is a graduate of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis and holds a doctorate in arts and art sciences from the School of Arts at the Sorbonne. Polymorphous, her work, both plastic and conceptual, draws on the intimate and on philosophical readings. She connects without hierarchy several stages of her work and different processes and materials such as artist's books, painting, photography, video, drawings and installations. She questions the relationship to the image, to the exhibition, to language and to history.
Since 2006, Farah Khelil has exhibited in institutional places, galleries and international fairs. Nominated for the AWARE Prize in 2019, she obtained the scholarship from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Goethe-Institut Tunis and the CAORC-CEMAT.