photography & video work
2007 - 2020
4 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
6 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
Franco-Tunisian artist, I was born in France in 1986. I graduate
of the College of Fine Arts in Berlin - KHB, I live
and work in Berlin since 2007 in the field of visual arts. I
work with different mediums such as photography, video,
installation „In situ“, performance...)
My artistic practice unfolds around the desire to create
two-dimensional, or three-dimensional images, where
the notions of place (topos) in relation to the created
(imaginary) space and the presence of the body (of the
spectator or mine) propose an approach to fiction in an
abstract and sensitive way, a fiction of the created space
or the filmed space. Wall, ground, rock, forest, objects
become the supports of a visual intervention, which invite
the spectator to a concentration of the senses on
the visible and the sensitive, initiated by the tension between
the concrete and the abstract.
graphic elements and bodies are put in dialogue with a
place, an architecture, a landscape. I explore the relationship
between two elements that are foreign to each
other, a tension where fiction begins, letting the landscape
emerge to the detriment of the narrative, thus bringing
the viewer back to the role of observer. Inviting him
to look. They are also experimental fictions, which expect
the spectator to imagine the story.
Photography and video were my first mediums during
my studies at the Beaux-Arts of Nantes. Nourished by
a passion for cinema, I realized in 2007 the photographic
sequence „Un visible“ in homage to Michelangelo
Antonioni, which was the beginning of a research where
Definition: A landscape is a view of a portion of the earth‘s
space, perceived by the human senses or various visual
arts and represented or observed, in most cases horizontally
and photographically by an observer; it therefore implies
a point of view.
The landscape is presented in the in-between that connects
the landscape and the landscape-scenery. It is
at the same time subjective and objective, sensitive as
well as symbolic, physical and phenomenal, ecological
and imaginary. This articulation between these elements
emphasizes the necessary link between the individual and
the country in the elaboration of the landscape. In this
perspective, landscape is not just topos, places or sites
considered in themselves, but a qualified space or place,
named by the gaze and vision of a subject and in this case
of the camera.
For me the landscape is first of all a visual environment.
But it is above all a place, which invites to stop, to contemplate,
as one contemplates a painting ... I want to
show this moment, this composition, whether it is abstact
or real, urban or natural. I want to show by interacting
directly with the place, perhaps with the camera, but also
physically through an intervention, a staging.
The first idea is to give to see, to make the spectator‘s
gaze linger on a detail or a panoramic view and to create
a friction, an expectation, a space-time, which sends the
spectator back to his role as observer.
Historically the landscape appears at the end of the 15th
century in Europe, in Flanders more precisely, during the
Renaissance period, in paintings with nature as a subject.
The word designates both the representation, i.e. the act
of painting a nature and the thing represented, i.e. nature
itself, before giving its name gradually and by extension
to the pictorial genre.
8 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
Staging and fiction
There is staging from the moment I choose a place and
introduce a foreign element, creating a dialogue, a contrast,
an echo or a fiction.
Classical fiction, with a beginning, a drama, an end, does
not interest me, I am more in search of a moment in between,
what I will call experimental fiction.
If there is fiction, the characters always remain in the
background, from behind, anonymous. Because it is not
a question of telling a story and above all it is a question
of making room for the landscape. To the landscape character.
What I call experimental fiction, is an abstract fiction built
on the border between abstract fiction and narrative fiction.
Raymond Bellour describes it perfectly in his book
„L‘Entre -Images _ Photo, cinema, video“:
„Fiction would thus have two centers. An abstract center
(we can say the most concrete as well), where it begins:
a sort of minimal framework that creates a relationship
of event between at least two elements, at this level a
point and a surface are enough. And on the contrary a
concrete center (we can feel it as the most abstract and
in any case more illusory) the event becomes a story that
happens to characters situated in a time and in a setting
with an effect of reality that seems natural, has appeared
and still appears to us, against all naturalness, even if it is
quite cultural. »
10 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
12 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
City Landscape _ Details
The urban landscape is approached in detail in the work of Elma Riza.
Often related to walking, strolling and the desire to show what is not visible at first glance. The idea is to make visible.
Leave a trace in the landscape or take a trace from
the urban landscape...
The projects, „Golden fragements“ and „Promenades
tracées“ both reflect a displacement in the
city, each one makes visible details of the urban
landscape, details that at first glance are not visible.
Crossing landscapes: an act of resistance to our
daily lives, focused on the desire to get from point
A to point B as quickly as possible. It is also a sign
of resistance to the definition of spaces, between
productive and leisure areas, often leaving only
protected natural areas as places to walk, free of all
constraints. The act of walking in the landscape is
an act of claiming a common territory.
Thus a walk such as a hike or a stroll is a walk of the
moment, where the goal is not an end in itself but
the walk itself and where the landscape becomes
present again in our perception. Urban or natural
landscapes then echo the movement of our body
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Lanscapes and memories
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Tryptique 2007 - 2009
Des Champs vides
Couleurs d‘une ville
All three of them are videos that stage non-places, wastelands,
places that will disappear with gentrification.
These places are like echoes of the city that surrounds
them, Nantes and its old port, Berlin and its History.
Female characters wander around and appropriate
these uncertain places. A form of dialogue emerges
between presence, idleness and expectation.
18 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
„Un Visible“, was realized in 2007 in Nantes, it was my first sequence of photos and my
first approach of the urban landscape with a camera. This project was inspired by Deserto
Rosso by Michalngelo Antonioni.
20 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
„With the question of the work and the place, it is thus the question of memory that arises (...) „*, of the memory of places
and landscapes. Because video, or photography, however subjective, captures an image of our world, of our time. It
bears witness to a presence in a particular place. Without necessarily having a documentary aspect, it acts as a mediation
between the place and the spectator. It is in itself a tool, a language, but above all a tangible trace.
* „Œuvre et lieu“, Anne Marie Charbonneaux and Norbert Hillaire, 2002
A landscape of abstraction
22 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
Since 2014, I have been working with the line. The
line that is part of our everyday landscape:
„Lines, I insisted, are phenomena in themselves.
They are really there, in us and aoround us. Indeed
there is no esca- ping them, for in any attempt
to flee we only lay another one. (...) Why should
theory and methaphor be thought to be the only
alternatives for the lines? Why cannot the line be
just as real as whatever passes along it, if indeed
the two can be distinguished at all? And if the idea
that lines can be real is alien our sensibilities, then
what was it that tipped me into this strange world
In my performances, I use the line to redraw
spaces, change our perception of places, create
imaginary landscapes in relation or not to architectures.
The line is then an abstract element, creating pure
geometric forms, placed in a large scale space,
they have this capacity to create spaces in between,
spaces that are made visible by the idea of
limit, border. It is a landscape in constant evolution
that takes shape before the eyes of the spectators
and proposes them to enter into another space-time.
That of a spatial composition, which invites
„Lines_ A brief history“ by Tim Ingold, Rutledge
24 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
(…) You start to compose a landscape within wich an event can take place
without necessarily knowing what kind of event it will be. But as you begin to assemble objects you are already discovering
something about it´s dimension and qualities. Shaping and reshaping the landscape is an integral part of improvisation
„Body, space, image: notes towards improvisation and performance” Miranda Tufnell, Chris Crickmay, Dance Books,
28 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
„If the landscape is a scenography or a painting in which our culture expresses itself, we can also think that the landscape
is a veil that can hide the world of other cultures from us or, on the contrary, can show us the point of contact between
our culture and others. Looking at the landscape then means looking for this frontier and stopping at the threshold of
our knowledge: it becomes a way of looking beyond ourselves, of trying to see or glimpse what is behind the painting,
behind the scenography, what we have never wanted to know. »
Antonioni. Landscape character, by Sandro Bernardi, 2006
«Si le paysage est une scénographie ou un tableau dans lequel s’exprime notre culture, nous pouvons aussi penser que
le paysage est un voile qui peut nous cacher le monde des autres cultures ou qui peut au contraire nous montrer le point
de contact entre notre culture et les autres. Regarder le paysage signifie alors chercher cette frontière et s’arrêter sur le
seuil de notre savoir : cela devient une manière de regarder au-delà de soi-même, de chercher à voir ou entrevoir ce qui
est derrière le tableau, derrière la scénographie, ce que nous n’avons jamais voulu connaître. »
Antonioni. Personnage paysage, de Sandro Bernardi, 2006
„This fable begins with a deserted place, our main character (but can we call that a character?). (...) Our secondary character
will be, singular among others, a surveyor of a place, a man walking. He walks endlessly - it is said to last forty years,
but since his ability to count the days has been exhausted fairly quickly, the real time of his walk no longer has anything
to do with the time that is likely to have passed: he is therefore tested by walking endlessly, walking endlessly in the absence
of any trace, of any road. »
Georges Didi-Huberman, The Man Who Walked in Color, 2001
«Cette fable commence avec un lieu déserté, notre personnage principal (mais peut-on appeler cela un personnage ?).
(…) Notre personnage secondaire sera, singulier parmi d’autres, un arpenteur de lieu, un homme qui marche. Il marche
sans fin – cela durera quarante années, paraît-il, mais comme sa faculté de compter les jours s’est assez vite épuisée, le
temps réel de sa marche n’a plus rien avoir avec le temps vraisemblablement écoulé : il s’éprouve donc en marchant sans
fin, marchant sans fin dans l’absence de tout tracé, de toute route. »
Georges Didi-Huberman, L’homme qui marchait dans la couleur, 2001
32 Des Paysages _ Elma Riza
Table of contents
«Fata Morgana», photography, 2015 _ Image de couverture
«Quand une ligne part en promenade», video, 2020/21 _ pages 4 & 5
«Cent Titres», Photography, 2019 _ page 11
«Golden Fragments, video, 2020 _ pages 12 & 13
«Promenades tracées», photography, 2020 _ pages 14 & 15
«Aniba», video, 2007 _ page 17
«Des Champs vides», video, 2007-2010 _ page 18
«Couleurs d’une ville», 2010 _ pages 18 & 19
«Between the Lines», video, 2015 _ page 24
«Présences», video, 2010 _ page 26
«La Traversée, video, 2012-2020 _ pages 28 & 29
«Un visible», photo sequence, 2007 _ pages 20, 21, 32