2019

NABIL SAOUABI 
artist-in-residence 15/09 – 03/10/2019

philomena+ is pleased to present Nabil Saouabi, this year’s candidate of the La Boîte / philomena + Residency Programme.
Nabil Saouabi is interested in the effect of imagery on the human psyche in the fluid transition between reality and fiction. He makes use of different sources for his artistic investigation. In the past, he painted iconic representations of well-known political figures of the Arab World, mostly involved in a violent act. Currently, he recreates images from film classics such as “Happiness” from Alexander Ivanovich Medvedkine or “Stalker” from Andrei Tarkovsky, showing tragic fates, threatened characters, harassed and weakened. Through painterly decontextualization, he succeeds in giving that what is seen aspects of a collective trauma.  The process of artistic creation is often addressed as an issue in Nabil Saouabi’s work. By the means of <<mise en scène>>(staging) and <<mise en abîme>> (placing an image within an image) the picture oscillates between illusion and reality, private and public. The artist is the main character himself, often portrayed with surprised expression, as if caught red-handed.
The visit of his open studio at philomena+ in Vienna will give insight into the preparatory work of Nabil Saouabi for the exhibition Befindlichkeiten مزاج together with Thaer Maarouf at Parallel Vienna 2019 from 25.9. – 29.9.2019.


Born in 1972 in Jendouba (Tunisia), Nabil Saouabi lives and works in Tunis. In 2013 he received his doctorate in art theory from the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Tunis, where he teaches today and directs the printing workshop. Since his first major solo exhibition „Sleepers Awake“ in Tunis in 2013, he has participated in numerous exhibitions in Tunisia and abroad, including biennials such as in Dak’art, Beijing and d’Île de France. His works are now in private collections in Tunisia, France, Germany and the Middle East, as well as in public collections such as the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia.