As a response to the invasion of media images in the public space and the private sphere, Faisal Samra denounces the influence of the mass media, whose promotion of products or ideas contributes to creating a biased reality. With his Distorted Reality project, the artist therefore intends to unveil these manufactured images by producing a work defined as a defence mechanism to face the oppression of advertisements.
The project began in 2005 and developed as a series of performances documented through photography and video. Each performance constitutes a sequence of improvised actions, a succession of false starts and hesitations, articulated without a preconceived scenario. Faisal Samra, whose face is hidden from the viewer, contortions his body in complex postures, expressing a dramatic tension. The body becomes the canvas for a rhythmic composition whose signs accumulate and clash.
From a triptych composition – a recurring model in reference to Bacon’s painting, Performance #19 presents the artist masked and hidden under an abundant mix of fabrics and scarves with coloured patterns. Holding up a parrot whose exoticism seems intended for sacrifice, the artist expresses in a theatrical gesture the violence which underlies the meeting of cultures and traditions brought together by a principle of domination rather than fusion.
The sacrificial question is also found in Performance #44 (2008) which strongly contrasts by its dramatic staging of an entirely veiled woman holding a lamb packed up in a fabric on which the word “meat” is written in Arab letters. The work is a reference to the El Al-Adha sacrifice celebrated by Muslims and seems to highlight a system of submission. Through the production of photographs and videos, Distorted Reality thus reveals a reality exposed through polished visuals. These images use the same codes as the mass media in order to debunk them.
Translated by Valérie Vivancos