Visually precise yet deeply enigmatic, Youssef Sefiani’s photographs are an entry into a world of modern noir. Sefiani’s subject is the dark corners of a city: half-constructed facades, shadows against a wall, and murky reflections in a puddle. People are often present, but only as ghosts. More interesting to Sefiani are the suggestions of human life, the marks they leave, and the menace lurking just beneath the urban landscape. The artist uses his digital background to pick out and define hidden patterns in his scenes. His compositional eye turns a street of skyscrapers into a graphic puzzle that teases blocks of blue sky between looming rooftops. A dark staircase becomes a rhythm of banisters, shadows, and sudden great depths. Sefiani’s colors are sharp but continually drenched in darkness, reflecting the fact that the play between light and shadow is one of his main interests. In crispness and content, the work is grounded in the modern day.
Youssef Sefiani is a former graphic designer whose artistic practice also includes video. His two greatest influences are Pierre Soulages’s clair-obscur concept and Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades.