The sixth issue of the editorial discursive space for the Bergen Assembly triennial, conceived by Saâdane Afif, is dedicated to the figure of the coalman.
The sixth edition of Side Magazine gives honour to the Coalman and bids farewell to his master, King Coal. Like a magnificent funeral, this issue celebrates the treasures this dark material brought forth in the name of progress, gives thanks for the comfort it provided and remembers the sufferings endured for its sake. Charles-François Mathis discusses the two historical bodies of King Coal—its physical form and symbolic capital, while Jean-Luc Nivaggioni situates the experience of the miners in 1984, as they were striking for their right to exist, alongside the LGBT groups who came to support them. Continuing our series of individual painting analyses, Isolde Pludermacher digs into Gustave Courbet's A Burial at Ornans (1849). In the spirit of honouring the Victorian era, Richard H. Horne's series The True Story of A Coal Fire is reprinted in its original form, which was edited by Charles Dickens. Denis Herlin sings to the sweet tunes of Claude Debussy's last composition, Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon ("Evenings Lit by the Burning Coals," 1917) and Professor Irena Bukowska-Florenska explores the tradition of coal being used by Polish miners as a material for sculpture. Finally, Gabbi Cattani writes an elegy to all of the dead organisms that gave rise to coal.
Side Magazine is released in the run up to the opening of Bergen Assembly 2022, each dedicated to one of seven enigmatic characters. These characters will lend their names to seven exhibitions from September 8th to November 6th, 2022. A special eighth issue also will be published.
Saâdane Afif (born 1970 in Vendôme, France) creates installations made up of unexpected encounters between objects. These creations, of uncertain status, oscillate between function and symbol, between art and design, and provoke shifts of meaning that engage a reflection on today's industrial society.
Exhibitions include The Fountain Archives and Beyond…, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain (2021); This is Ornamental, Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, Austria (2018); Paroles, Wiels Brussels, Belgium (2018); The Fountain Archives, Foundation Jumex, Mexico, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco, and Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2017 and 2019), and Anthologie de l'Humour Noir, Museum für Moderne Kunst – MMK Zollamt, Frankfurt, and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010 and 2013).
His work was included in documenta 12 (2007), 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014), Marrakech Biennale 2014 (2014), 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (2015), 1st and 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2005, 2015) and Taipei Biennial (2016).
He received the Prix International d'Art Contemporain de la Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco (2006), Prix Marcel Duchamp (2009), Preis der Günther-Peill-Stiftung (2012) and the Prix Meurice pour l'art contemporain (2015).