Nous (Us) by Djamel Kokene finds its roots in the history of sculpture and specifically around the technique of direct carving. Pointing out historical pieces which play with the parallelepipedial cutting of the original block, such as Le Baiser  by Constantin Brancusi or Torsion (1968) by Giovanni Anselmo, the work of Djamel Kokene explores the concepts of resistance of the matter, fullness and vacuity as well as mass and weight. The concrete block, broken into two pieces and directly placed on the ground, stages some of the main gestures of sculpture in a spectacular and extreme manner: fragmentation, breaking, subtraction.
But here, as opposed to the conventional practice, the broken pieces are not subtracted to reveal the form. They remain an integral part of work and even constitute its core. While using a process which one could describe as ‘creative destruction’, the artist shows the energy and violence of the shocks needed to burst the block which can be reconstituted retrospectively by the spectator  . An emotional load is being built, surrounding the combination between the breaches in the work and the direction of the word engraved in the block.
“NOUS” (us) carved in a neutral font and devoid of any pomposity, is however bearing a highly significant implicit meaning. It can be interpreted as applying to a couple, a family, a community or society as a whole, this fragmented “us” is a powerful symbol of the disintegration of a group and to a larger extent of a community.
When compared with the body of work of the artist, fed by the idea of displacement and nomadism, this sculpture by Djamel Kokene metaphorically explores the questions of belonging, identity and community, both in the social and intimate realms but also as highly topical and timeless concerns.
Translated by Valérie Vivancos
 Between 1907 and 1938, Constantin Brancusi produced many sculptures on this theme, all sharing the preservation of a barely carved block of stone.
 Djamel Kokene also produced a video work around this sculptural gesture. Titled “Two and million five thousand years after" (2009), it is a recording of the blows of a sledgehammer on the concrete block until its fragmentation.