the chrysanthemums project
The CHRYSANTHEMUMS project
(2009-2011)



“Inaugurer les chrysanthèmes” (French for “To inaugurate chrysanthemums”) : this is a well known proverb in Algeria. It is an ironic reference to all the realisations which are announced but never realised.
Commemoration stelae which were constructed and used for ceremonies are still present, and punctuate the Algerian urban landscape. Lasting remains of euphoric ambitions never materialized, of unfulfilled promises. Sometimes they are worn by time, sometimes vandalized by man when expectation starts to rot.
Menia chose to track down these concrete slabs which are now often abandoned. This was a pretext to rebuild the imprint of a city in waiting, of humanity suspended.
Started in 2009, the series evolved until its completion in autumn 2011. The concept was to restitute the stelae through an almost perfect photographic rendering, or in a slide projection, life size, in order to let the visitor confront the object. Each photograph is mounted on wooden billboard to parody the 'sham' of the inauguration.
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© Amina Menia