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: FRI & SAT, 1 – 6 PM
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 18.04 19:30 // SCREENING // STUDIO
SOUNDING IMAGES #7: DOUBLEVISION
The early 1980s saw an explosion in alternative moving image production connected to the post-punk and industrial music scenes. At a time when the commercial music video industry was just beginning to gather pace, independent labels began to emerge, stridently bypassing censorship and issuing their own releases.
This unique moment gave rise to the Doublevision label, established by Cabaret Voltaire and Paul Smith in 1982 to release video works by themselves and other industrial and experimental artists. The following year, they also started to release records. Cabaret Voltaire had been experimenting with video equipment since around 1979 and many of their affiliates, including Throbbing Gristle, 23 Skidoo, CTI, The Residents, Einstürzende Neubauten and Tuxedomoon, likewise experimented with the use of visuals, film and video. This screening features a selection of material originally released under the Doublevision label, offering an exclusive insight into the diverse and radical nature of music-related moving image production of the time.
Throbbing Gristle: In the Shadow of the Sun, dir. Derek Jarman, 1927-74/1980, super 8mm (transferred to 16mm), 50 min
Kundalini from 23 Skidoo: Seven Songs, dir. Richard Heslop, 1982, 8mm, VHS and U-matic tape (original format), 5 min 30 sec
Vegas El Bandito from 23 Skidoo: Seven Songs, dir. Richard Heslop, 1982, 8mm, VHS and U-matic tape (original format), 3 min
Marys Operation 23 Skidoo: Seven Songs, dir. Richard Heslop, 1982, 8mm, VHS and U-matic tape (original format), 4 min 30 sec
Sidereal (Time Measured by the Movement of the Stars) from CTI: Elemental 7, dir. CTI (Chris Charter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and John Lacey), 1983, VHS (original format), 5 min
Well Spring of Life (Gathering the First Waters of Spring) from CTI: Elemental 7, dir. CTI (Chris Charter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and John Lacey), 1983, VHS (original format), 7 min
Diskono from Doublevision presents: Cabaret Voltaire, dir. Cabaret Voltaire, 1982, U-matic tape (original format), 6 min
Nag, Nag, Nag from Doublevision presents: Cabaret Voltaire, dir. St. John Walker, 1982, U-matic tape (original format), 5 min
Extract from Johnny Yesno from Doublevision presents: Cabaret Voltaire, dir. Peter Care, 1982, 16mm (original format), 3 min
This screening is curated by Nicole Yip (Director, LUX Scotland) and is presented by LUX in association with the touring film project, THIS IS NOW: FILM AND VIDEO AFTER PUNK (197885), developed in partnership with the BFI National Archive.
… is a curator and writer based in Glasgow. She has been Director of LUX Scotland since September 2016 and was previously Special Projects Curator at LUX. She has curated exhibitions, film screenings and projects at venues including the Kochi-Muziris Biennale; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Firstsite, Colchester; The Showroom, London and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, where also worked on the inaugural LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images (2012). She is a contributor to Frieze magazine and co-editor of publications including Xerography (Colchester: Firstsite, 2013) and Ulises Carrión: Gossip, Scandal and Good Manners (London: Royal College of Art, 2010). She was a member of the international jury for VIDEONALE.16 (2017) and Document International Film Festival (2016).
The series SOUNDING IMAGES focuses on different approaches to documenting and visualizing musical performances, scenes and movements as well as close collaborations between filmmakers and composers, including soundtracks. The aim of it is to open up a wide range of perspectives on the interrelation of music, experimental filmmaking, and video art, including issues regarding race, class, sexuality and gender. Invited guests will discuss selected works and a short introduction to each screening will provide background information, sometimes a Q&A will follow.
The series is organized by Fiona McGovern.
DI 18.4 // 19H30 // 6-8€
ACUD STUDIO // SCREENING
SOUNDING IMAGES #7: DOUBLEVISION
curated by nicole yip
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