In this piece, Yazid Oulab has combined detailed drawing and a pronounced use of materials to realize the movement of a thought, a flow of meaning between signs and sensations which are already contentious.
The cut-out form of a knife in sheepskin stands out, blending soft and sharp, organic and metallic, hot and cold. But also symbolizes gentleness and violence, victim and killer. The assemblage with the marble plaque brings to mind different connections: denseness-ventilation, inert-alive, durable -perishable. The very association of the two fine art terms themselves is open to meaning: figure- ground, sculpture-pedestal? It recalls the tradition of bas-relief whilst the simple emblem borrows from the traditional craft of the tanner. This openness, this accessibility to the elements recalls the pursuit of a meaningful universal language, based on the tangible, reminiscent of Joseph Beuys and Jannis Kounellis.
Starting from the gesture and a direct tactile experience, Yazid Oulab unfolds a spiritual and symbolic dimension. He mobilises an ancient iconography, at once learned and profoundly archetypal, as the representation of the utensil, combined with the marble as in an altar, refers to the sacrifice of Abraham , a fundamental event for the three monotheist religions. This moment when the human sacrifice was decreed forbidden, is commemorated in Islam by the ritual throat-cutting of a lamb in the festival of Eid al-Adha, whereas in the West the knife conveys the idea of the assassin. Beyond the representation, these shapes and elemental materials, which you would think were stable and univocal, become intermediaries inviting to an open reflexion.
Translated by Theodora Taylor