Eye of the Tiger by Oscar Guermouche
The starting point of Oscar Guermouche’s work is language as a carrier of identity. He focuses on the connections between text, biography, and body based on notions such as memory, self-image, and character, often using his own body and biography as raw material. He is particularly interested in stereotypically male characters, often anti-heroes, men who are trapped in a borderland between hero and monster, and the narratives that create and recreate these men. Issues such as upbringing, fatherhood and threat are also included here.
While Guermouche’s practice is text-based, his work includes a variety of media such as drawing, painting, video, performance, and installation. For Eye of the Tiger he has chosen to work only with film stills; apart from the title and one quote from the film Le Samouraï (1967) the work contains no text. Instead he has focused on the stare as language. The book is composed of close-ups of the eyes of 99 male characters from various films. The stills portray the characters in situations where they are driven into some sort of readiness; these stares express everything from controlled calm to furious aggression. The films were all released between 1977 and 2000, the formative years of Guermouche’s childhood and coming of age, including schooling, sexual debut and military service.
The black wooden pattern on the cover, along with the blackened edges and the deep black endpapers, are reminiscent of the installations in the form of barricades that Guermouche has created in recent years, for example the work You Made Me (ICIA, 2016) in Gothenburg. The dust jacket is made out of Swedish kraft paper, which draws ammunition packaging to mind. The metallic foiling refers to the machine as a male ideal, and to the steely-eyed stare. The black-and-white images with their graininess and deep black, give the impression of memories rather than direct depictions.
Each and every one of the 99 copies of the special edition has been signed as one of the characters in the book.
Oscar Guermouche is an artist, born in 1977 in Stockholm, and living on Öland. He obtained his master’s degree from the Department of Fine Art at Konstfack—University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm.
His work has been exhibited at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, ICIA in Gothenburg, the National Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow, Kunsthalle Rostock, and Sleepwalker Projects in Toronto, amongst others. His work is included in several art collections, such as those of Magasin III Museum of Contemporary Art, the Public Art Agency Sweden, and the City of Gothenburg. He has published a number of articles and essays, for example in Paletten Art Journal, the Swedish Association of Art, and Flamme forlag. He is also a frequent guest teacher and lecturer at the Royal Institute of Art, Konstfack, Valand Academy and several other art and design schools. He is also active in Konstnärsnämnden—the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s working groups, as vice-chairman of the Visual Art’s Fund, and chairman of the Iaspis delegation, as well as a member of Konstfack’s university board.
In 2020 he also launched Praun & Guermouche together with Sandra Praun. Rotolito / Nava Press
Praun & Guermouche 
Idea and concept: Oscar Guermouche
Design: Sandra Praun & Oscar Guermouche
17 cm x 19 cm
Printed at Rotolito / Nava Press
Special edition: 99. Each and every one has been signed as one of the characters in the book.
December 12, 2019