“My works often involve the encounter of three territories. First of all, there is the question of the autobiography; my works all stem from one territory: the intimate. Then comes the question of my involvement in the city as a social, urban, or political experience – an incursion into the territory of others. There is also my constant, and sometimes deafening, dialogue with the History of (artistic) forms, of Humankind, and of Ideas – the territory of memory.
All my works, whether sculptures, videos, photographs, or installations, communicate with these three territories: the intimate, the others, and memory.”
“From intervention to intervention and from place to place, Slimane Raïs weaves an unusual and extremely interesting itinerary. He does not act on matter and space, or pictorial and photographic representation. Through works which involve an encounter, exchanges of words, personal objects, histories, and secrets, he experiments with a new social link, based on what represents the most individual part of each one of us.
To delimit his approach, the reference to relational aesthetics, which his work is frequently associated with, cannot suffice. Similarly, the conceptual base which the artist has himself been proposing since 1994 and which he sums up by the PPCM (the smallest common multiple) cannot for its part altogether define a work, either, a work which may have the elegance of proposing a great formal readability, but also has a beautiful complexity of meanings and readings. […]
From the troquets-troqués of the Berriat neighbourhood in Grenoble, by way of the pour parlers of Annecy, the identikit pictures of the abbey neighbourhood, the intimate calendars of Yvry-sur-Seine, the pastilles of Dortmund and the cabines de séduction of Lyon, we can see that these situations reveal and kindle the synergy which should exist between the individual’s personal novel and the collective novel of a community.
The art of Slimane Raïs is indeed an art that is part of the social arena. It even has a subtle political character, through the mesh which it introduces in the face of the growing social fragmentation. What is surprising is that it achieves this without brandishing the usual collective issues. It achieves this by talking … about love, grief, dreams, fear, emotion, secrets, intimacy, in a nutshell, about what forms the most diffuse trembling of a life.” […]
Excerpt from Slimane Raïs, une éthique relationnelle…, Alain Livache, 2004
Translated by Simon Pleasance, 2015