The artist Duo ST4 the Project debuts a recent series of paintings and sculptures in their second solo exhibition “5km Away”. Constructed over the last several years, ST4 the Project’s 5km Away suggests a bend in space, an urban heterotopia; abstract, ambiguous, and abrupt. The exhibition opened at la Marsa on Saturday, May 14th 2022 and ends on June 4th, 2022.
Committed to bringing an interdisciplinary and collective vision to the national and global conversation, Tunisian duo ST4 the Project questions the notion of functionality and challenges the Tunisian cultural and architectural heritage through abstracting, deconstructing and reconstructing its characteristic elements. After their first solo exhibition that took place in 2019 at Yosr Ben Ammar Gallery in Tunisia, the duo has prospered in various cities, notably in Tunis, Casablanca, Paris, Holland, and Cape Town. Following this rich and fertile career of artistic exploration, ST4 the Project were ready to be back to their studio in Tunis to prepare their next solo exhibition “5km away”.
5km Away, “this place in between, this amorphous instinct”, invites the viewer to investigate notions of natural/industrial, valuable/menial, and familiar/ strange by using the ostensibly mundane to sculpt a visual identity that is both starkly new and deeply inherited.
The exhibition puts on display the paradoxical nature of the Tunisian cultural and architectural heritage: functional doors with dead ends, layered decoration on minimalist shapes, balconies with no view, repetitive buildings in different locations, aesthetics methodized with random codes… Emerging from this variety and richness, the artists aim to reinvent and reshape these existing landscapes, through hijacking the ordinary and introducing the imaginary.
5km away “Our aesthetic draws from the peculiarity of traditional, modern, and vernacular Tunisian architecture.” Explains the duo. “However seemingly absurd and random to the public, these mundane elements, when observed, are a pertinent response to the viewer’s urgent need. The artworks propose a reinterpretation of the existing architectural vocabulary and an initiative to transpose local expertise on an abstract medium: hence highlighting and enshrining an aesthetic heritage and diversity which is hidden in plain sight.”
The duo sought new artistic mediums in this exhibition and delved into new materials in order to mature their aesthetic and expand their field of experimentation. The modules that were once primarily perceived as letters of deconstructed literature, evolved into elemental shapes of deconstructed architecture. This shift in perception, from transposing letters on mediums to composing with the medium, emerges from an organic social vision rooted in understanding how people inhabit space and construct their dwellings. Indeed, besides exploring different scale canvases and textures and evolving into a more compact interlaced composition, they transposed their abstract modules on more unconventional mediums, notably the laser-cut Aluminium Panels, a local industrial material also known as DIBOND. The artists introduce us as well to whimsical threedimensional monuments through a mesmerizing sculpture presiding over an infinite landscape. The sculpture is composed of a sustainable recycled plastic PVC and embodies the duo’s distinct modules in an intertwined junction, a merging matrimony of forms and a fusing collision of limits.
“The sculpture is contextual, timeless, adaptive, and enigmatic. It will simultaneously reflect the eccentricity of the Tunisian architecture and represent none of its variations.” Discloses ST4. “This exhibition is a continuum of our approach, yet the inception of a new era in our career and the first step in a long-term exploration.