mounira al solh
mounira al solh (b. 1978, beirut) studied painting at the lebanese university in beirut, and fine arts at the gerrit rietveld academy in amsterdam, where she was also resident at the rijksakademie between 2006 and 2008. al solh’s practices stretch across several mediums including videos, installations, photo-collages, paintings, and performances. her work is set out to interrogate themes encompassing the social and the personal, where the autobiographical becomes universal. drawing on various disciplines within the social sciences, al solh’s art aspires to ask “large questions in small places”, operating according to ginzburg’s notion of microhistory. while she tackles significant sociopolitical topics of extensive resonance, humor and playfulness are always an integral part of the artist’s work, concealing trauma in laughter as a way to process it. in her videos, she privileges working with close friends and family members over working with professional actors, creating fictive or real situations. al solh’s body appears in several of her works, standing before the camera unapologetically. as the editor of noa magazine (with fadi tofeili, among others), and noa language school (with angela serino), al solh examines and explores topics such as treason, arrest, language, and schizophrenia in dialogue with artists and writers.
although formally trained as a painter in the fine arts department at the lebanese university, her relationship with the medium proved to be contentious. she opposes its western tradition and gendered history, all the while being inexorably drawn to it: “whether i like it or not, it is part of my art practice” she says. her work has been displayed in solo exhibitions at alt art space, istanbul, turkey (2016); sfeir-semler gallery, beirut (2014); at kunsthalle lisbon, portugal (2014); kw institute for contemporary art, kunst-werke berlin e. v., berlin, germany (2014); art in general, new york (2012) as well as in group shows at everything in nature has a lyrical essence, a tragic fate, a comic existence, kunsthalle exnergasse, vienna (2016); venice biennial, venice, italy (2015); here and elsewhere, new museum, new york, usa the new museum, new york (2014); neighbors, istanbul modern, istanbul, turkey (2013) haus der kunst, munich (2010); manifesta 8, murcia, spain (2010); the guild art gallery, mumbai (2010); stedelijk museum bureau amsterdam, the netherlands (2011); al riwaq art space, manama, bahrain (2010); the galerie nord, kunstverein tiergarten, berlin; and the 11th international istanbul biennial in 2009. her video rawane’s song received the 2007 jury prize at videobrasil. her video installation as if i don’t fit there was part of the first lebanese pavilion at the venice biennale in 2007.
yto barrada (b. 1971 , paris) grew up in tangier, morocco. she studied history and political science at the sorbonne and photography in new york. her work — ranging across photographs, films, publications, installations and sculptures — engages with the peculiar situation of her hometown tangier. exhibitions of her work have been shown at the tate modern, the renaissance society, witte de with, moma, the centre pompidou, whitechapel gallery, the walker art center in minneapolis and the 2007 and 2011 venice biennale. she was the deutsche bank artist of the year for 2011 after which her exhibit riffs toured widely. she is the 2013 recipient robert gardner fellowship in photography. harvard university, and recently won the abraaj group art prize 2015 and has a nomination for the upcoming prix marcel duchamp in paris. barrada is the founding director of cinémathèque de tanger and a member of the arab image foundation, beyrouth. her first monograph was published by jrp ringier in summer 2013.