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In January 2024, architect Chacha Atallah and La Boîte – an alternative art platform in Tunis – will present their programming surrounding the Villa Baizeau, an illustrious residence in Carthage, designed by the renowned architect Le Corbusier.

Only Ruins To Be Found / Seules Les Ruines Demeurent. Credit: FLC ADAGP

The villa was built in 1930 on the Sainte-Monique hill in Carthage, on commission of Lucien Baizeau, a notable manufacturer established in Tunisia since the early 1900’s. Following the Tunisian independence in the 1950’s, led by Habib Bourguiba, the building was incorporated into the governmental site, due to its proximity to the presidential palace. Since then, the villa and the site it is built on have been off-limits for the local public and architecture lovers, to whom the mysterious building remains of great interest.

Organised concurrently with an architectural exhibition, symposium and public programming on the topic of Villa Baizeau, is ‘Only Ruins To Be Found’, a presentation of contemporary artworks, that brings an artistic interpretation of the architectural framework surrounding the villa. Curators Myriam Ben Salah and Aziza Harmel have invited a number of artists to propose works – both existing projects and new commissions – that engage head-on with the particularities of the Villa Baizeau and the ideological issues raised by this architectural object: the inaccessibility of its site, its early nationalisation, the symbolism of a Carthaginian villa in a context of severe economic crisis, and finally its particularity in Le Corbusier’s own career.

Through speculative practices, the exhibition offers an imaginary access to the villa, a fiction that takes as its starting point the position of the viewer, from the chapel of Sainte-Monique, overlooking the Villa Baizeau. The exhibition acts as a counterpoint to the architectural presentation of 32bis, examining Le Corbusier’s practice through the critical prism of the post-colonial context.

The participating artists are Yesmine Ben Khelil, El Warcha, Niloufar Emamifar, Mohamed Harmel, Safia Farhat, Freaks freearchitects & PATOX, Vlatka Horvat, Natascha Sadr-Haghighian & Judith Hopf.

The exhibition will be on view from the 16th of January until the 16th of March, 2024. For more information, please visit La boîte.

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