It was in 1982 that Messaoud Bahloul, painter and miniaturist, graduated in ceramics from the National School of Fine Arts in Algiers. Whoever adopts the signature of Elmes acquires the different artistic techniques, mastery of colours and is more imbued with patterns that embellish the traditional Algerian household arts. These geometric Berber symbols present in pottery and weaving are already familiar to him, omnipresent as they were in the usual objects that surrounded him in his childhood, at Tazmalt in Kabylia.
His academic training completed, he began his real journey of learning the visual arts in contact with great artists and field experiences. Especially since his curiosity leads him to touch on all that is likely to constitute him benchmarks and perspectives of evolution. And it is curiously during the accomplishment of his national service within the Design Office of the National Defense ministry, where come all the graduates of Fine Arts, that he enriches his know-how by mixing with many plastic artists formed in different countries and creating painted landscapes inspired by great universal painters commissioned by his hierarchy for the decoration of the place.
The experience gained in contact with the great painter M’Hamed Issiakhem was equally fruitful. Under his authority, he took part in 1978 with four students in the beautification project of the city of Algiers. “We had dared to approach certain forms in our frescoes, the marriage of certain colors, the Berber motifs. He accepted that; Moreover, he pushed us to be bold, not to hesitate to do silly things”, Elmes recalls, still grateful for this renowned plastic artist who impressed by its character and also and especially by his talent.
An experience no doubt exhilarating since in 1984, he uses his practice for the beautification of the city of Bouira, which was then predominantly agricultural. It was the time of the great revolutionary sites, that of the Agrarian Revolution accompanied by the Cultural Revolution, both engaged in the national edification. Of these grandiloquent ideological impulses, it nevertheless remains the enriching experience and the sunny memory of sincere collective human investments.
His passage through the National School of Fine Arts in Algiers opens the prospects for a more personal achievement through participation in individual and collective exhibitions, at national and foreign levels. Elmes does not fail to be present in national exhibitions or biennales of international art. In 2007, his collaboration at the 16th Renault Paris group show won him the 2nd prize (mention of a work on paper). A recognition acquired at the cost of a patient and prolific journey that leads him to raise to other levels of thinking on the practice of plastic art.
This is particularly the case when in 1986, the discovery of a Belgian artistic movement called “Circle and Square” offers to Elmes, as curious as intrigued, the opportunity to inquire about the meaning of geometric symbols. This is a real revelation that allowed the beginning of a promising creative turn making the figure of the triangle the subject of an elaborate artistic work, supported by an intellectual thinking intrinsically philosophical. A thinking fueled by his ongoing exchanges with his friend, the poet M’hamed Hassani.
It is in the years 1992-93 that takes place the first exhibition of the Triangles resulting from this phase of philosophical as well as plastic research : the quest for meaning, for link between the idea and the form.
The mountainous vegetable environment of Kabylia where Elmes bathes makes the olive tree the lord of the trees. He took part in 2012 in the collective realization of a sculpture of a traditional olive press in his hometown Tazmalt. The artist’s sensibility is fascinated by the morphology of this tree with its gnarled trunk that strives to take extraordinary forms. It offers to Elmes an additional support to engage a questioning on the essence of this plant, which is organized on the creative level in a set of plastic procedures (photographs and graphic design) between 2012 -2013 and 2016. The research of the essential origin finds here also its full dimension.