Shoshana Wayne Gallery
March 31- May 5, 2012
Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of Moroccan born artist, Mounir Fatmi. Fatmi currently lives and works in France. This is Mounir’s second show with the gallery.
“Kissing circles,” proposes an encounter between two classic Hollywood films: Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin and Casablanca, by Curtiz. The circle serves as the link between this ensemble of recent pieces. Mounir Fatmi has been working for several years with this universal shape, which is explored also through a wide range of fields, including influences from art- from Duchamp and his rotoreliefs, to another modernist artist, Sonia Delaunay. The circle is also found in religious symbolism, one strong example being pilgrims walking around the Ka'ba, the most sacred structure in Islamic architecture. More concerned with philosophy than mathematics, the artist is inspired by Descartes geometric theorem, which establishes a relationship between “kissing” or mutually tangent circles. A response to this relationship is found in a poem, “The Kissing Precise” by Frederick Soddy.
In the main gallery a large-scale video projection of a machine dominates the gallery walls. The title of the piece, “Modern times, a history of the machine” is inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s celebrated 1936 film which comments obliquely on the alienation of man in a modern industrialized society; Chaplin portraying a lowly worker on a factory production line. In Fatmi’s projection, circular verses from the Qur’an form the cogs in a wheel. The dizzying effect of the installation draws on the legacy of Duchamp’s spinning circular optical illusions known as Rotoreliefs; which were among the first manifestations of kinetic art.
Opposite the projection is a series of five drawings on photographs, which feature the imagery of the final kiss from the film Casablanca. The tangent circles of Descartes and Soddy are drawn on the photographs of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as they are drawing closer together for a final kiss. The Moroccan city of Casablanca is forever recalled as the city from the film- reality and fiction are intertwined in its landscape.
The artist constructs visual spaces and linguistic games that aim to free the viewer from their preconceptions. His work deals in the desecration of the religious object, and the deconstruction and end of dogma and ideologies. Fatmi is particularly interested in the idea of an end to consumption; which can be applied to his use of antenna cables, copier machines, and VHS tapes. This can be applied as well to a dead language or political movement.