the theme of the exhibition, image in the aftermath, is articulated around specific situations and events that reflect on the production, use and dissemination of images. it is not so much the events themselves that are explored, as much as the way these political situations have lead to new ways of using and diffusing images as a tool of resistance or as the only possible means to respond to a significant event.
the absence of images – as well as their excess – and the question of representation are at the core of the works presented. these works reflect on turning points in the evolution of the use of images or on historical events including: hiroshima, the lebanese wars, the iraq war, the sahrawis’ struggle for self-determination, and the nakba as a catalyst for the creation of palestinian representation.
in sahara occidentale, con poche immagini (western sahara, few images), similarly to the nakba archive, images and documentation serve as tools of resistance as they become a proof of an existence that could otherwise be threatened or denied. in relation to the invasion of iraq, jalal toufic brings to mind the symmetry trick, decalcomania, the false mirror, elective affinities, the treachery of images, and boundless recognition. as a means to respond to the significant events of the lebanese wars, walid raad explores “the withdrawal of tradition,” as conceived by toufic, for whom art reveals the immaterial withdrawal of tradition in the wake of “surpassing disasters”. this concept has echoes in the work of joana hadjithomas and khalil joreige who reveal the physical and mental constraints and implications of resurrecting images from the period of the lebanese wars. masao okabe and chihiro minato examine the aftermath of the hiroshima tragedy through its physical traces by producing frottage drawings. sophie ristelhueber creates seamless collages that reconstruct scenes, both real and imaginary, exploring the limits of media images. boris groys, using film footage in his video lectures, thematizes the gap between what we hear and what we see and reflects on the relationship between image and word in our media driven world. hassan khan presents mystery, a work in process he began in 2010 that takes as its basic medium the act of 'writing in style'. its source is the memory of a young boy's perception of a class based society and the pleasures of reading arabic mystery tales for boys.
through the works presented accompanied by a series of parallel events, this exhibition proposes to explore both the limitations of images and their power to act as a means of preservation and representation.
boris groys,professor of aesthetics, art history, and media theory at the center for art and media technology in karlsruhe; global professor at new york university, is a philosopher, essayist, art critic, media theorist, and an internationally acclaimed expert on late-soviet postmodern art and literature and the russian avant-garde. dr. groys' writing engages the wildly disparate traditions of french poststructuralism and modern russian philosophy. groys received the andrei belyi prize for his theoretical contributions, and, in 2009, the frank jewett mather award for art criticism from the college art association. in addition to his theoretical contributions, including the recent art power (mit press 2009) and going public (e-flux/sternberg press 2011), groys has curated numerous exhibitions, such as fluchtpunkt moskau, ludwig forum aachen, germany (1994); dream factory communism, schirn gallery frankfurt (2003-2004);privatizations, kw institute of contemporary art berlin (2004); and total enlightenment: conceptual art in moscow 1960 –1990 at kunsthalle schirn in frankfurt and fondación march in madrid (2008-2009).
joana hadjithomas & khalil joreige are filmmakers and artists. together, they have directed documentaries such as khiam 2000-2007 and el film el mafkoud (the lost film), and feature films such as al bayt el zaher (1999) and a perfect day (2005). their last feature film je veux voir (i want to see), starring catherine deneuve and rabih mroué, premiered at cannes film festival in 2008 and was selected for the prix du film singulier by the french syndicat de la critique. their films have been enthusiastically received, won awards in many international festivals and been released in many countries. together, they have created numerous photographic installations including: faces, lasting images, distracted bullets, the circle of confusion, don’t walk, war trophies, landscape of khiam, a faraway souvenir and the multifaceted project wonder beirut. their artwork is shown in important museums and art centers around the world. they presented their most recent project, lebanese rocket society, element for a monument at the sharjah biennial. they are also the authors of numerous publications and university lecturers in lebanon and france. they are members of the board of metropolis cinema and co-founders of abbout productions together with georges schoucair.
hassan khan (born 1975) is an artist, musician and writer who lives and works in cairo, egypt. selected solo shows include gezira art center, cairo (1999), galerie chantal crousel, paris (2004), gasworks, london (2006) le plateau, paris (2007) uqbar, berlin (2008), kunsthalle st. gallen (2010) galerie chantal crousel, paris (2011) and forthcoming the queens museum, new york. khan has also participated in the istanbul (2003), seville (2006), sydney (2006), thessaloniki (2007), contour (2007), gwangju (2008) manifesta 8 (2010) biennials as well as the turin (2005) and yokohama (2008) triennials, amongst other international group exhibitions. his album tabla dubb is available on the 100copies label. he is also widely published in both arabic and english. his text nine lessons learned from sherif el-azma was published by the contemporary image collective in 2009, and his artist's book 17 and in auc – the transcriptions was published by merz and crousel in 2004.
chihiro minato (born 1960) is an artist, anthropologist and filmmaker. he graduated from the school of political science and economics at waseda university and has been a professor at tama art university, tokyo since 1995. in 2002 and 2004 he was a visiting scholar at wolfson college, oxford university. in 2007 he was the commissioner of the japanese pavilion at the 52nd venice biennale (2007). his recent exhibitions include beyond language, soka art center, beijing (2007); the third nature, 1839 contemporary gallery, taipei (2009); and the ephemeral eternity, art gallery, anu, canberra (2010). together with the japanese pavilion at the 52nd venice biennale, his recent curatorial work includes: public furniture, busan biennale, south korea (2006), and hiroshima 1958, hiroshima prefectural museum, nikon gallery, tokyo and japan culture center paris (2008 and 2009). minato has made five films, including: reconcilier l’intelligible et le sensible, entretien avec claude levi-strauss (institute franco-japonais, tokyo, 2002) and for the reopening of moma nine museums of taniguchi yoshio (2005). his works are held in a number of public collections including the french national library, the tokyo museum of photography, and mona in tasmania with masao okabe. minato was awarded ina nobuo prize for photography (2006) among other prizes.
masao okabe (born 1942 in nemuro) is an artist and printmaker. since the late 1970s masao okabe has been working on many projects using the technique of rubbing on paper. his works are widely exhibited in japan and abroad. he was the representing artist for the japanese pavilion in 52nd venice biennale (2007). he is the recipient of the hokkaido cultural prize (2006) and the hiroshima cultural prize (2008). recent exhibitions after 2000 include n’oubliez pas, gwangju biennale (2000); art for the spirit, hokkaido modern art museum (2001); sejon art center, seoul (2003); synchronicity, hiroshima contemporary art museum (2005); yubetsu coalmine project, kushiro city museum (2009); dig the jomon, suwa project, chino city museum (2011). since 2006 okabe and chihiro minato have been working on various projects and exhibitions including: is there future for our past?, japanese pavilion, 52nd venice biennale (2007);attingendo memorie, japanese culture center, rome (2007); is there future for our past?, art box, sapporo station (2008); lusheng leprosy sanatorium project, taipei (2009); plate of the time, contemporary art institute, sapporo (2009); the brief history of love, planis hall, sapporo (2010); museum of old and new art, tasmania (2011). masao okabe lives in kitahiroshima-shi, japan.
walid raad is an artist and an associate professor of art at the cooper union (new york). raad’s works include the atlas group, a fifteen-year project between 1989 and 2004 about the contemporary history of lebanon, and the ongoing projects scratching on things i could disavow: a history of art in the arab world, and sweet talk: commissions (beirut). his books include the truth will be known when the last witness is dead, my neck is thinner than a hair, let’s be honest, the weather helped, and scratching on things i could disavow. raad’s works have been shown at documenta 11 (kassel, germany), the venice biennale (venice, italy), the hamburger bahnhof (berlin, germany), the museum of modern art (new york, usa), homeworks (beirut, lebanon) and numerous other museums and venues in europe, the middle east and north america. raad is also the recipient of the hasselblad award (2011), a guggenheim fellowship (2009), the alpert award in visual arts (2007), the deutsche börse photography prize (2007), and the camera austria award (2005). raad is represented by the sfeir-semler gallery (hamburg / beirut); anthony reynolds gallery (london); and paula cooper gallery (new york).
sophie ristelhueber (born 1949) is a french artist. she was born in paris, where she still lives and works. for more than 25 years, ristelhueber has investigated the impact of human conflict on architecture and landscapes. using photography and more recently moving image and sound, she records the violence inflicted on the surface of the earth by the machinery of war. rather than focusing on the geopolitical meaning of a particular conflict, ristelhueber is engaged with the ambiguities of what she calls the “terrain of the real and of collective emotions”. she has exhibited widely, including fait, moma, new york (1996), details of the world, museum of fine arts, boston (2001-2); wb, musee d’art moderne et contemporain, geneva (2005); eleven blowups, rencontres internationales de la photographie, arles, (2006); and exposed: voyeurism, surveillance and the camera, tate modern, london (2010). she won the deutsche börse photography prize 2010 for her retrospective sophie ristelhueber at jeu de paume, paris (2009).
jalal toufic is a thinker and a mortal to death. he was born in 1962 in beirut or baghdad and died before dying in 1989 in evanston, illinois. he is the author of distracted (1991; 2nd ed., 2003), (vampires): an uneasy essay on the undead in film (1993; 2nd ed., 2003), over-sensitivity (1996; 2nd ed., 2009), forthcoming (2000), undying love, or love dies (2002), two or three things i’m dying to tell you (2005), ‘âshura’: this blood spilled in my veins (2005), undeserving lebanon (2007), the withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing disaster (2009), graziella: the corrected edition (2009), what is the sum of recurrently? (2010), and the portrait of the pubescent girl: a rite of non-passage (2011). many of his books, most of which were published by forthcoming books, are available for download as pdf files at his website: http://www.jalaltoufic.com. he is a guest for the year 2011 of the artists-in-berlin program of the daad.
the nakba archive
the expulsion of palestinians from their homes and lands in 1948, an event commonly referred to as the nakba (the catastrophe), remains the pivotal moment in the history and collective experience of the palestinian people. since 2002, the nakba archive, a grassroots testimonial initiative, has filmed over 650 interviews with first-generation palestinian refugees in lebanon about their recollections of life in pre-1948 palestine and the events that led to their displacement. the aim has been to document this critical period through the voices and personal experiences of those who lived through it in a way that moves beyond the statistical, mythical and anecdotal. as the ranks of first-generation palestinian refugees continue to thin and hope of return appears increasingly remote, the symbolic value placed on 1948 continues to rise. the context of narration giving meaning to these histories includes the need not only to make sense of and transmit a traumatic past, but also to take hold of an imminently uncertain present and future. in this respect, the nakba archive is both a record of the memories of a passing generation of eyewitnesses and an act of witness to the legacy of 1948 and its continuing impact on the palestinian refugee community in lebanon. the nakba archive was founded by diana allan, who co-directs the project with mahmoud zeidan.
sahara occidentale, con poche immagini (western sahara, few images)
a reflection and interventions by fatima mahfoud, yasmine eid-sabbagh, patrizio esposito, jean lamore, mario martone, and gianluca solla. since 1999 an informal collective of writers, philosophers, historians, filmmakers, artists and activists has been looking at photographs, video footage and their use in the western sahara conflict. the group has presented its findings on numerous occasions, in different contexts and varying formats, in order to reveal the sahrawis’ novel relation to images.