Euridice Zaituna Kala

31 August - 5 October 2024

Galerie Anne Barrault is delighted to present Euridice Zaituna Kala‘s first solo exhibition in its space.

En quelques gestes: as if two suns were setting develops and thinks about architecture in the city and questions the urban landscape, ultra-exploited by human in the face of surrounding nature.

Euridice Zaituna Kala, while doing a research residency with the Villa Albertine (2022/2023), studied the geography of New York City, its environment, its development planning and its buildings. Among other things she has analyzed the function of water, an element encircling the city and forming a living boundary asserting the limit of human power on its milieu. She wanted to highlight the relationship between the architecture of the city and its link with water, to make visible the relationship of domination that is established there, and to bring to light the concept of the liquid city.

In her research on contemporary architecture, Euridice Zaituna Kala is interested in both Manhattan luxurious residential skyscrapers as well as in social housing projects in and around the city, mostly inhabited by Black and Latin American populations. This has led her to note the social disparity reflected in this architecture: the skyscrapers overlook the city and occupy the sky, whereas at the same time housing in more ordinary areas suffers from the rising water levels because of the climate change. Severe floods affect the inhabitants of neighborhoods like Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Harlem every time there is a storm or heavy rains.

There is a real tension between the level of the water and the height of the buildings – ever higher – like a race to the top.

The works produced for this exhibition are the result of research developed by the artist during her residency in New York. There, she joined environmental initiatives with local organizations which address the essential issues of climatic town planning and question the systematic burying of rivers in order to create public spaces. Today, these sites have become the main causes of fragility, and lead to sewage overflows into the ocean, the dumping of chemical products into the drinking water networks, and the deformity of the ground that has become permeable.

Extending her work about archives, Euridice Zaituna Kala has taken an interest in the history of New York City, how its development is deeply bound to its water sources, from its formation to colonization. At the beginning, it was the native Lenape nation who took refuge in the heights of the city, at the time made of a succession of hills and rivers, today leveled by urban development. Manhattan comes from Manna Hatta, meaning “the island of many hills”.

For her exhibition at the gallery, Euridice Zaituna Kala imagines, based on verticality representing power, an in-between space in which architecture appears as a tool of oppression and control, but also as a means of reflecting, integrating or invisibilizing the body of the other. She puts the hierarchy of this urban landscape into perspective, revealing the absence and the transparency of a part of its own inhabitants.

With recordings of archival documents, captured conversations and strolls through New York City, Euridice Zaituna Kala composes a sound space to stage an exploration of the archives in space. Using glass sculptures mixing images and reflections, she shapes a representation of this sound space. Glass allows her to create “heterotopian” spaces, other spaces (a concept developed by Michel Foucault in a lecture in 1967entitled “Des espaces autres”) which echo the city skyscrapers.

Drawing her inspiration from the historical and current cartography of the city, Euridice Zaituna Kala intents to shape new geographies, which take into account the changes in city architecture, but also their social impact.