Bianca Abdi-Boragi: The Heel of the Loaf

Curated by Jamie Martinez at The Border Project Space

Oct 23rd – Nov 14th, 2020


New York, NY. Oct. 23rd, 2020. The Border Project Space is pleased to present The Heel of the Loaf, a solo exhibition by Bianca Abdi-Boragi. The exhibition, curated by Jamie Martinez, will be on view from October 23rd until November 14th, 2020. 


This large scale sculptural installation, a 4’x4’x4’ dice made of discarded bread, is a meditation on fragile structures, sacred subsistence, and competition, literalizing the impression that the most elementary needs of society seem to be left to chance alone, in late capitalism’s game where people’s odds of winning are stacked against themselves. The warm and radiant hues of bright and contrasting tones invite the audience to step closer and stare into the sculpture’s cavities while stepping over a bed of bread crumbs. The familiar and playful oversized object made of a crumbly surface creates an uncanny sense of distorted reality.


Stemming from the failure of governments to adequately care for people during this time of crisis, The Heel of the Loaf highlights the conflict and disparity between classes.  While this crisis has benefited and enriched a small segment of society, playing around with an excess of money, it has left the American dream and chances of prosperity for the majority stripped down and reduced to the chaos of chance.


Regarding this piece, Bianca Abdi-Boragi writes, “I remember last March during the lockdown, sitting at the kitchen table, feeling tethered to stability by a thread. There was a piece of bread on the table, a needle and thread, I took a tiny piece off the center, ate it and stared at it, grabbed the thread and needle and sewed around it, giving into an impulse withdrawn from the meaning of things. I finished and saw a splendid Zero. It was this surrealist gesture that triggered the entire project. I wanted to convey this feeling, for a viewer to share this feeling through their experience of the presence of this sculpture.”


The Heel of the Loaf reflects upon the legacy of Surrealism and Arte Povera draws upon the vocabulary and creative structure of minimal and conceptual art, and engages with ephemeral practices at the intersection of painting, sculpture and performance. Often engaging with ephemeral works, Bianca Abdi-Boragi has previously worked with food in her work–sugar (Cotton Candy), salt (Drift), couscous (Transmission) –to unravel themes of substance, subsistence, fulfillment, trajectory and precarity. Following the lineage of masters such as Louise Bourgeois, Salvador Dali, Pierro Manzoni and Claes Oldenburg, this piece projects a gaze of poetry and radical beauty during an uncertain future. 


This site-specific installation, however, posits the possibility of hope: while these systems and games dominate the lives of so many, they are built upon illegitimate and fragile foundations that can be crumbled if enough of us say enough.  Ultimately, The Heel of the Loaf offers a glimpse of hope to reset, start fresh, and begin anew.


Bianca Abdi-Boragi works across media using sculpture, video, installation, and painting to enact representations of self and others, often using found materials and landscapes as receptacles to address different states of being, with a specific focus on alienation and territory.  Tending towards the absurd though with care and respect, her works respond to the contemporary political and social environment in the United States, France, and Algeria, engaging with themes of gender, violence, and migration while linking this moment to the historical repercussions of post-colonialism.


Bianca Abdi-Boragi is a French-Algerian/ American interdisciplinary artist who received her MFA from Yale School of Art, Sculpture, in 2017, and obtained her BFA from ENSAPC.  Her video pieces have been screened at CADAF Art Fair, the Immigrant Artist Biennial, Anthology Film Archive, UnionDocs, Video Revival, NY, the Whitney Humanity Center, and Loria Center, New Haven, CT.  She has exhibited works at NARS Foundation, The Border Project Space, VCU Arts, NURTUREart Gallery, Chashama Gallery, Field Project Gallery, Galerie Protégé, The Clemente Soto Velez Center NY, throughout the United States and internationally, and was the recipient of the JUNCTURE Fellowship in Art and International Human Rights from the Yale Law School.  She was recently in residency at NARS Foundation and previously at MASS MoCA’s studios, the Centquatre, Paris, France, Pact Zullverein, Essen, Germany, Cal’Arts, Los Angeles.



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