Ali Cherri. Somniculus
Catalogue of the exhibition

In his new film Somniculus (Light Sleep), Ali Cherri turns his attention to the deepening relationship between the processes by which artefacts are excavated, collected and classified and the way these artefacts are understood through controlled systems of representation.

Capturing the inner life of French ethnographic and anthropological museums, it presents a world in which fragments of past civilizations have come to represent the universality of human experience. Preserved within the structure of the museum display, artefacts live on as containers of their own place and time. Their physical trajectories, their possible roles in the narratives of Enlightenment, imperialism and colonialism, cannot be traced. What remains are fragments of the past defined by constructed narratives and understood only through ideological regimes of representation.

The objects seem less than alive, yet they speak to us and haunt us still. Just as we watch them, they watch over us. Here, looking is not simply a political act of questioning the reality before us, but an act of imagining a reality beyond the visible. To enter into a phase of “light sleep” is to engage the waking imagination. Like the weightlessness of objects suspended outside of time, the body is neither dead nor alive but waiting to be awakened.

This book accompanying the exhibition by Ali Cherri, part of the Satellite programme 10, includes texts by Osei Bonsu, Fabien Danesi and the artist.

Publication date: February 2017
Paperback, 15 × 21 cm, 64 pages. Bilingual French / English.
Graphic design: Villa Böhnke
Co-edition: Jeu de Paume / CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux / Maison d’Art Bernard Anthonioz
Price: 14 euros.

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