Fri 24.03 19:00 // EXHIBITION OPENING // GALLERY
MONIRA AL QADIRI
MONIRA AL QADIRI, BUBBLE
OPENING: FRI, 24. MARCH 2017, 7 – 10 PM
EXHIBITION: 25. MARCH – 23. APRIL 2017
OPENING HOURS: WED – SAT, 1 – 6 PM & BY APPOINTMENT
Curated by Elodie Evers and Camila Palomino
Monira Al Qadiri’s works lend a highly political visual language to the experiences of the Gulf, articulating both the angst and the richness of the culture. The exhibition at ACUD is Al Qadiri’s first solo-show in Germany, encompassing a selection of recent sculpture and video works.
In her earlier works, the artist experimented with questions of gender and performance. She created images and videos using representations of her own body, presenting herself as male characters, and having male dancers play female roles in videos portraying traditional Arabic music. These works relate narcissism, gender roles, and melancholy—highly figurative and sumptuous depictions of Arab Culture. Her most recent pieces continue to work through the same cultural spectrum but with particular consideration to economic histories and tradition.
The title of the show, “Bubble,” refers to both liquid crude oil—its effervescent and iridescent nature—and the term “economic bubble,” relating to a bubble market, or a trading of assets whose price is incongruous with its intrinsic value. The video projection Rumors of Affluence (2012) speaks directly to the latter, giving viewers an exclusive and voyeuristic look into the Kuwait Stock Exchange. Al Qadiri zooms in on different traders, men wearing traditional, long, white dishdashas, lounging aimlessly about the Stock Exchange, and presumably conducting business. Coupled with deeply percussive music building tension, the voice of the narrator—the artist herself vocally disguised as a man—recounts stories of wealth, consumption, and corruption before and after the financial crisis. The reveals another bubble: a world directed by men, of unimaginable wealth and fraud—a precarious bubble, ready to pop.
The video Travel Prayer (2014) features found footage from a camel race, a popular sport and betting event in the Middle East. In the past, children were trafficked, and used as jockeys at races. Most Middle Eastern countries have now recognized the use of children as a human rights violation; and as a result, camels today are fitted with robotic jockeys, as seen in the video, that are controlled from SUV vehicles that ride along the camels. Al Qadiri invokes a subtle humor in her works that allows her to navigate sensitive political and cultural spheres, with sharp poignancy that renders absurd the corrupt and perverse. The video confronts the dark, traditional history of this sport by making the footage vibrantly colored, and accompanying the images with two sounds: a children’s tune as staccato as the camel’s galloping is fused with the words of an Islamic travel prayer. Merging together symbols of wealth, tradition, and religion, these parts create a critical portrait of the Gulf States, where child abuse is traded for crude machines.
Al Qadiri’s pointed sense of irony is even more present in another video, SOAP (2014), in which she superimposes images of migrant domestic workers onto scenes from various Gulf Soap Operas. Domestic workers constitute an invisible presence in the immaculately manicured homes and lifestyles of characters on these television shows, yet in reality, these workers are a ubiquitous part of everyday life in most Gulf households. As a result, SOAP presents a surreal image and acerbic criticism of not only these soap operas, which themselves are cleaning and editing their depictions of reality, but also on a culture that is based in superficiality. As with Rumors of Affluence and Travel Prayer, SOAP continues to explore and expose the histories and experiences that are obscured in Gulf culture.
Deep Float, (2017) the newest work presented in the gallery, provides different sorts of intimacy. A bathtub standing at the center of gallery, what would seem to be a private moment of self-indulgence and self-care, is perverted. Instead, the bathtub is filled with a dark, nacreous substance portraying crude oil, while two hands seem to reemerge from the ooze. Both drowning and emerging from the muck, the absent body symbolizes the precarious and overwhelming economic reliance that the Middle East, and the rest of the world, have to crude oil.
Monira Al Qadiri (born 1983 in Dakar, Senegal) lives and works in Amsterdam. Born in Senegal and raised in Kuwait, she left her home country at 16 and spent a decade in Japan, where she received a PhD in intermedia art in 2010. In 2011 she relocated to Lebanon. She is a founding member of the artist collective GCC, and is currently in residence until 2018 at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Selected previous exhibitions include: Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna; New York University, Abu Dhabi; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Kunstverein Dusseldorf; Maraya Art Center, Sharjah; Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
Al Qadiri’s video works have been screened at: Centre Pompidou, Paris; Safar: Festival of Contemporary Arab Cinema, London; Ludlow 38, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris; Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin; New Museum, New York.
Image: Monira Al Qadiri, Rumors of Affluence, 2012, video still
With kind support by
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Tue 04.04 20:00 // CONCERT // CLUB
FAKE LAUGH // MOTHER OF THE UNICORN // VENTURE LOWS
English Lads in Berlin … the rest you can hear in both Fake Laugh and Mother of the Unicorns + Venture Lows music on this evening — Fake Laugh will be coming out with their first full length album this year and MOTU have been busy unicorns and have just finsihed their 2nd — awaiting release.. and Venture lows just released the single Brenda and are working on bringing out more digitally soon! Leaving behind home and setting up shop in another country and language has its dis- and advantages and +++ one big one, is community and the stories that this city makes when you add your own spice — please come out and support the great music and community from all over that make Berlin — well the best. (says M:Soundtrack )
FAKE LAUGH [Bln/UK]
MOTHER OF THE UNICORN [Bln]
VENTURE LOWS [UK]
… is the recording project of London/Berliner Kamran Khan. Kamran started writing songs at age 12 while living in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. After moving to London to study philosophy, he started experimenting with home recording. Early recordings were mostly covers of artists whose influence can still be heard in his sound today, such as The Beach Boys, Everly Brothers and The Beatles. After witnessing the emergence of bedroom producers, Kamran decided to adopt the DIY approach with his own songs. His initial aim was to write simple, melodic and carefree songs. Having released AA single Mind Tricks / Birdsong Lullaby and two EPs: Ice and Great Ideas last year, 2017 will see the release of the first full-length Fake Laugh record. // Soundcloud
MOTHER OF THE UNICORN
The four-piece forms around singer Joe Kelly who thereby expanded the solo-project he had begun working on in London. Atmospheric indie leaning on krautrock and experimental pop influences. Dreamy, layered and deeply immersed in sublime sonority; these quick French, yoghurt, lemon and balsamic dressings make eating your greens a pleasure. There last album Variations was produced by Tad Klimp (FENSTER/SAROOS/SLOW STEVE). New album out later this year.
Theres nothing ordinary about Venture Lows, right down to the fact 2/3rds of the group are bassists. The East London outfit have been a long time in the making. Back in 2015, they released debut track Summer/RIP, a Tom Vek-nodding pop blitz that waved farewell to the passing season and, appropriately, arrived before the world went to bits in 2016. The group stayed completely silent in that time, but theyre taking a second step with the hyperactive, intelligent Brenda.
DI 4.4 // 20H // 6-8€
ACUD CLUB // CONCERT
FAKE LAUGH // MOTHER OF THE UNICORN // VENTURE LOWS
come out and support the great music and community from all over that make berlin well the best
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