Massinissa Selmani’s sculptural assemblage, Even distances are continents, contains many of the same elements, the same visual tropes, as the drawings. Now in three dimensions they are placed with equal precision on a low white platform where they can be seen in the round.
The platform’s shape suggests a map of a country, its edges a coastline or borders. On one side of this anonymous territory, an observation tower is perched on a single rock. Across from it a smaller stone occupies its own diminutive portion of land, and near that a tiny printed word, ‘Without’, floats over a second patch of blue. That word is answered by a larger word, ‘With’, standing upright and unfolding into three dimensions with an H that resembles the tower. Between the two words stands a metal arc – the same form that appears in the drawing, Une profondeur de ciel et de chemins N3 – whose curve may be interpreted as a horizon line, dividing the two realms, those of ‘with’ and ‘without’. Inclusion and exclusion, the absurd but inexorable logic of barriers and borders as abstract impositions upon the earth, blocking the way, restricting human interaction and movement: these are recurrent themes in the artist’s work.