The starting point of this project is the discovery of photographs of shoplifters, shown in a supermarket in Lefferts Garden Brooklyn. The manager of this supermarket would take a Polaroid photo of each person who stole something from the store and hang it at the entrance, next to where the security guard stands. Despite the violence of the process, the exhibition of the images was discreet and nobody seemed to pay much attention to them. What Mohamed Bourouissa saw in these images was the story and obvious distress of the neighborhood, illustrated by simple but powerful portraits. On each picture we can see that basic products like eggs or fruit have been stolen, which makes the manager’s strategy rather ambiguous. In an unexpected way, the pictures seem to denounce the misery and disruption of society rather than the shoplifters themselves. Mohamed Bourouissa found the quality of the pictures, as well as the aesthetic choices, quite remarkable: the composition, the colours, the lighting... He then transformed the 20 pictures. Mohamed Bourouissa took pictures of the pictures exhibited in the shop. The photos were damaged and covered in marks and tape. He had to alter them thoroughly to make the portraits visible.
Charlotte De Mezamat
Shoplifters series of 19 color photographs, inkjet print, variable sizes © Mohamed Bourouissa ADAGP
Shown at :
• HARa!!!!!!hAaaRAAAAA!!!!!hHAaA!!!, Goldsmiths CCA, London (UK), 2021
• Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2020, The Photographer’s Gallery, London (UK), 2020
• Nasser, Parisa Kind gallery, Frankfurt am Main (DE), 2020
• Libre échange, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles (FR), 2019
• Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, NS-Dokumentationszentrum, München (DE), 2019-2020
• An unassailable and monumental dignity, Contact Photography Festival, Toronto (CA), 2017
• Hustling, Basis, Frankfurt (DE), 2016
• La vie moderne, 13th Biennal of Lyon, Lyon (FR), 2015
• To what end ?, Camera Austria, Graz (AT), 2015
Exhibition view of Shoplifters, Goldsmiths CCA, London (UK) 2021 © Mohamed Bourouissa ADAGP. Photographs: Mark Blower.
Exhibition view of La vie moderne for the 13th Biennal of Lyon, Lyon (FR), 2015 © Mohamed Bourouissa ADAGP. Photographs: Blaise Adilon