Born in 1960 in Tunis, Meriem Bouderbala is currently living and working between Paris and Tunis. In 1985 she graduated with honors in visual arts from the Fine-arts school of Aix-en-Provence in France, with a major in engraving and painting, and from Chelsea School of Art in London.
Since her first solo exhibition in 1987 at the Arab World Institute (IMA) in Paris, Meriem Bouderbala exhibited extensively in France, Tunisia and Morocco. Her work was regularly showcased at galleries, biennales and museums in Europe, USA and North Africa, like the exhibition 25 years of Arab creativity at the Arab World Institute in Paris in 2012, the Musée Banque du Maroc in Marrakech in 2011, the Musée de la Monnaie of Paris in 2010, or the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in 1994, only to mention a few.
In the meantime, she was awarded in 2010 Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of the Arts and Letters) of France and won many prizes including the Prize of the Foundation Ricard in 1998, the Centenary Prize of Michelin in 1999. She also participated in many international art fairs like Art Basel Miami-Beach, Art Dubai, Abu Dhabi Art, Art Paris represented by Galerie Patrice Trigano in Paris and Galerie El Marsa in Tunis.
Her work is part of several public and private collections such as the Ministry of Culture in Tunisia, the Fondation ELF in Paris and the Arab World Institute in Paris as well as the Ministry of Culture in France and the Mairie de Valbonne-Sophia Antipolis in South of France. Her work is also part of many French publications, in particular, and has illustrated various poems and writings with publishers like l’Harmattan Paris.
About the artwork
Living and working between Paris and Tunis, Meriem Bouderbala draws her creative inspiration from both her French and Tunisian origin and culture. Hence her work which belongs to both European and North African cultural scenes is taking part in the development and transformation of mentalities across the Mediterranean region.
Such cultural connections and interactions in Meriem Bouderbala creative process allow her to find “this point where the human figure is at the same time of flesh and signs”. Thus her approach is an attempt to fuse Eastern and Western visions together in her own perception of the representation of the body.
Asserting her visual experiment based on the feminine figure draped or revealed in its nudity, through fragility and complexity, she creates sensual choreographies, often distorted, always with fluid contours. In her work, she introduces the “Bedouin”, a woman covered with her traditional Tunisian cloth engaging in various subjects. Her approach questions the oriental notion in art, particularly in regards to the Western vision of the Oriental woman in the Arab world.
She gives to see the present and the past just like in her attempt to converge the body and the sign. Thus, she’s covering the tracks through baroque figures and evanescent silhouettes wrapped in different clothing. Like the loose folds of the drape suggesting as many constructions as to which a woman must confront herself nowadays to create her own identity freely.
2012 Curator of the Printemps des Arts at Abdelliya Palace, La Marsa,Tunis, Tunisia
2009 Curator of the exhibition Phototropisme at Galerie el Borj, Tunis, Tunisia
2006 Curator for the Tunisian section of the exhibition L’image révélée, de l’orientalisme à l’art contemporain [The image uncovered, from orientalism to contemporary art], Tunis, Tunisia
2003 Curator of the exhibition L’intime et l’étranger at the Contemporary Art Meetings of the Medina in
2002 Design, adaptation and staging of UBU in Palestine, The Casbah Theatre, Ramallah, Palestine
1985 Chelsea School of Art, engraving departement, London, UK
1980-85 National Postgraduate Degree with honours in Plastic Arts [Fine Arts]from the Fine-arts school of Aix-en-Provence, major in engraving and painting, Aix-en-Provence, France
SOLO SHOWS (SELECTION)
2015 Suspicious Ambivalences Gallery Galya Sidi Bou Said. Tunisia.
2013 Without Title The box space, a contemporary art venue, Tunis, Tunisia.
2012 Psykédelik, Galerie GVCC, Casablanca, Morocco
2010 Sur le fil [On the edge], Galerie Ammar Farhat, Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
2008 Etoffes cutanées [Flesh cloth], Galerie CMOOA, Rabat, Morocco
2008 Universe, Galerie Le Violon Bleu, London
2007 L’étoffe des cauchemars [The nightmares’flesh], Galerie Olivier Houg, Lyon, France
2001 Dissolution, Galerie Alain Couturier, Nice, France
1998 Visions d’une grande peste, Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, France
1996 OEil noir, Galerie Médina, Tunis, Tunisia
1993 Eclipse, Galerie Lola Gassin, Nice, France
1991 Epreuve, Galerie Keller, Paris, France
1987 Poussières[Dust], IMA - Arab World Institute, Paris, France
GROUP SHOWS (Selection)
2016 Yesterday is tomorrow’s memory: a group show of work from North Africa, Elmarsa gallery, Dubai
2014 Soul States" Private house, Brussels, 16 January-30 March 2014
2013 "The Corps discovered" the Arab World Institute at the National Museum of Bahrain, Manama, in September 2013.
2013 Naila Art Gallery in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2013 Abu Dhabi Festival 2013, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, Emirates
2012 25 years of Arab creativity, IMA - Arab World Institute, Paris, France
2012 Dream City 2012, Biennal of Arab Contemporary Art, Tunis and Sfax, Tunisia
2012 Le corps découvert [Uncovering the body], IMA - Arab World Institute, Paris, France
2012 Dégagement – Tunisie, un an après [Getting out - Tunisia, one year after], IMA - Arab World Institute, Paris, France
2011 Dos Orillas - El Arte Contemporaneo en el Magreb, Museum of Contemporary Art of Madrid, Spain
2011 Images Affranchies [Freed images], Musée Banque du Maroc, Marrakech, Morocco
2011 Mastermind - L’amour et la violence [Mastermind - Love and violence], Galerie GVCC, Casablanca, Morocco
2011 Cairo Biennal of Contemporary Art, Egypt
2010 Entre Deux Rives, Musée de la Monnaie de Paris, France
2010 La part du Corps [The body at stake],Palais Kheireddine,Palais Kheïreddine, Museum of the city of Tunis
2009 Traversées: artistes contemporains arabes [Crossings: Contemporary Arab Artists], Darb 1718, Cairo, Egypt. Travelling exhibition : Galerie Bab Rouah and Galerie Bab El Kébir, Rabat, Morocco
2008 Traversées : artistes contemporains arabes [Crossings: Contemporary Arab Artists], Art Paris 2008, Grand Palais, Paris
2008 Femmes d’images en Tunisie, Espace privé [Women in Images in Tunisia, Private space], Boulogne-Billancourt, France
2006 L’image révélée, orientalisme - art contemporain [The image uncovered, from orientalism to contemporary art], Palais Kheïreddine, Museum of the city of Tunis
2001 Carthage et l’art contemporain [Carthage and Contemporary art], Ministry of Culture in Tunisia
2000 Oliviers (Olive Trees), Exposition Universelle Hannovre, Germany
1998 Dix ans de jeune peinture tunisienne (Ten years of young Tunisian Painting), Tunis, Capitale culturelle (Tunis, cultural capital), Tunisia
1998 Invitation To Love, Bedroom Gallery-Bathroom Gallery, at SKALL, Paris
1997 Je ne quitterai jamais mes amis (I will never leave my friends), Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris, France
1997 Salon Jeune Peinture (Young Painting Show), Espace Paul RICARD Prize, Paris
1997 Risquer l’inconnu ou l’autre multiplié (To risk the unknown or the other after another), Biennale de Lyon, Galerie Olivier Houg, Lyon, France
1996 Permanent collection of the Arab World Institute [Institut du Monde Arabe], DM, Paris
1996 Chassé-croisé... Peintres tunisiens et européens au XXème siècle (Coming and going… 20th century’s European and Tunisian painters), within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, Palais Kheïreddine Pacha, Tunis
1995 Tunisie: regard sur l’art contemporain (Tunisia: Insight into contemporary art), Espace Ecureuil, Toulouse, France
1995 Tunisie: regard sur l’art contemporain (Tunisia: Insight into contemporary art), Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
1994 Women in the Arts, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
1994 La Méditerranée a du talent (The Mediterranean has talent), French Cultural Center, Casablanca, Morocco
2016 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK
2013 Abu Dhabi Art 2013, Elmarsa gallery, Tunis
2012 Art Dubai 2012, Elmarsa gallery, Tunis
2010 Art Basel Miami Beach, Florida
2010 Abu Dhabi Art, Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris
2009 Abu Dhabi Art, Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris
2009 Art Paris, Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris
2009 TEFAF, Galerie Patrice Trigano, Maastricht, Netherlands
2008 Art Paris-Abu Dhabi, Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris
2010 Awarded Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) de France
1999 Centenary Prize of Michelin
1998 Prize of the Foundation Ricard
PUBLIC COMMISSIONS AND ACQUISITIONS (Selection)
Ministry of culture of Tunisia (1995,1994)
Fondation ELF, Paris (1994)
Arab World Institute, Paris (1991,1989)
Ministry of culture of France/ Mairie de Valbonne-Sophia Antipolis, France
2000 Artist Book, poems by Tita Reut, Paintings by Meriem Bouderbala, edition of 6
Artist Book, poems by Adonis, Paintings by Meriem Bouderbala, edition of 5
1999 Les murs (The Walls), poems by Tita Reut, illustrations by Meriem Bouderbala, edition of 5
1998 Works on the theme of the desert(Ouvrage sur le thème du désert), texts by Charles Juliet, illustrations by Meriem Bouderbala
Carré d’ange (Angel square), poems by H. Baba Farid, illustrations by Meriem Bouderbala, published by l’Harmattan Paris
Anthologie de la poésie arabe (Anthology of Arab poetry), illustrations by Meriem Bouderbala, published by Mango, Paris
1995 Passe au rouge (Turn to Red), poems by Joseph Gugliemi, illustrations by Meriem Bouderbala, published by Yéo (Alain Avila), Paris
1992 La Métis magazine, texts by Raphaël Monticelli, works on paper by Meriem Bouderbala
African Digital Art, Meriem Bouderbala: Transforming the female form, 2016
Paris Art interview, 2012
Diptyk magazine, tv, 2009