In an era when the restitution of objects that were seized by colonial powers has become a compelling issue for museums, Camille Kaiser focuses on a movement in the reverse direction, namely the “artistic repatriation” of numerous public monuments from Algeria to France after the former colony’s declaration of independence in 1962. By switching the customary viewing direction in the debates about cultural heritage, Camille Kaiser raises new questions: In the name of which ideology did ships cross the Mediterranean loaded with massive bronze statues of Jeanne d’Arc or the Duke of Orléans? What is the meaning of these transfers between Algeria and France, between the mosque of Algiers and the rondel of Neuilly-sur-Seine?
Camille Kaiser acts both as an artist and as a researcher. Furnished with a list of keywords, she explores the pictorial archives of the ECPAD, Institute for Communication and Audiovisual Production of the Defense Ministry near Paris. Her meticulous mode of operation leads her to fill in the gaps in this story and to develop new narratives with previously unknown images.