Dreams Have No Titles, Zineb Sedira
February 15 - May 12
Dreams Have No Titles, a solo exhibition by Zineb Sedira, will be shown for the first time in the UK at the Whitechapel Gallery, London from 15 February to 12 May.
Dreams Have No Titles
The exhibition was conceived of at the 2022 Venice Biennale. It is an immersive experience involving photography, sculpture, film and performance. In addition to the artist’s own work are activist films produced in Algeria, Italy and France.
For the exhibition, the spaces of the Whitechapel Gallery will be transformed into film sets. One of these is a recreation of the artist’s Brixton home, another is the ballroom scene in Le Bal, a 1983 film by Ettore Scola. The upper galleries will become a cinema showing the film Dreams Have No Titles, but with décor from other films creating a sense of a live shoot. Hence the artist blurs the boundaries between documentary and fiction as well as personal and shared.
Dreams Have No Titles Review
I confess to being really intrigued by Dreams Have No Titles. For a film buff like myself, the opportunity to walk onto a film set while in a gallery was a dream come true.
The exhibition starts with the film set for Le Bal, a 1983 film by Ettore Scola, which I confess I do not know. But as soon as I walk onto the recreated set, I feel as if I know the film intimately. Algerian wine is on the bar, cigarette butts lie discarded in ashtrays. Evocative music fills the room. Behind the set I am invited to see the wardrobe and green room.
Sedira says the exhibition is a love letter to militant cinema. More specifically it is the cinema of the 60s and 70s across France, Italy and Algeria. Upstairs there are recreated sets from Gillo Pintecorro’s Battle of Algiers (1966) and Luchino Visconti’s L’Etranger (1967) taken from the novel of the same name by the French Algerian Nobel prize winning author Albert Camus.
The scene is set. Dreams Have No Titles is an examination of colonialism and resistance through the medium of film.
But Sedira goes further than this. This is an intimate and interactive exhibition. Not only does the artist invite us on to the film set and back stage, but also into her own Brixton living room. We are guests invited to sit on her sofa, and listen to her conversation surrounded by posters of films that have influenced the artist greatly.
If you have time, just sit down and let it all flow in. Then watch a screening of one of the films downstairs at the gallery, which are free, including The Battle of Algiers. A fascinating insight into the role of filmmaking in contemplating colonialism and resistance, Dreams Have No Titles is an intimate and ultimately refreshing exhibition.
The artist was born in 1963 in Paris to Algerian parents. She moved to London to study art. She attended the Royal College of Art. She now lives in both Paris and London and also works in Algeria. She has work at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate, the Arts Council England, and the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow.
When Is It?
15 February to 12 May, 2024.
Where Is It?
Galleries 1, 2, 8 and 9 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, by Aldgate East Tube station. Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm; Thursdays, 11am to 9pm.
For further information, visit www.whitechapelgallery.org.
All images by Mark Bibby Jackson, unless stated.