Beauty and Uprising in the Working-Class Suburbs of Paris

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When selections from “Périphérique” were first exhibited, beginning in 2007, they were almost immediately well received. Bourouissa, then barely thirty, was launched into an international circuit of art fairs, museum collections, and large-scale exhibitions, including the inaugural New Museum Triennial, in 2009, aptly titled “Younger Than Jesus.” In their wider circulation, Bourouissa’s images carried a new weight. Through their elegant artifice, the photographs achieved a more truthful narrative of the banlieues. “It was all about creating a language, creating a tension in the image,” Bourouissa told the late curator Okwui Enwezor, in a 2017 interview. “I wanted to bring it into another aesthetic dimension. For me, this dimension, this beauty, can be totally subversive.”

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