mounir fatmi
ADN Platform, Sant Cugat del Vallès

Art of War, 2014

Art of War

ADN Platform

22.11.2014 - 16.01.2015


"All warfare is based on deception" (The Art of War, Sun Tzu)

ADN Platform hosts Art of War’s exhibition by mounir fatmi, an extension of Light & Fire solo show at ADN Galeria. Art of War takes the homonymous Chinese book’s title on military strategy historically attributed to Sun Tzu in order to build a personal and contemporary discourse about war and the Role of historiography role, bringing to light desires, doubts and fears and inviting the viewer to assume a critical position away from conventions and dogmas. After the ideological, political and literary connections developed in Light and Fire exhibition, Mounir Fatmi links himself here to the body, to the human being caught by ideologies. Art of War might be interpreted as a strategy not only of territorial conquest but rather of bodies and individuals conquests.

Being war the exhibition’s driving force, the selected works envisage the experience and interpretation of different agents and periods. The same photo file Art of War (2014), chosen as the main broadcasting exhibition’s image, portrays a group of scientists and thinkers exiled during World War II, either because of their ethnic origin or because they disagreed with the Nazi policy. Under this apparently pleasant group portrait, the tragedy of a chapter that damaged human history is hidden.

In order to build his discourse, fatmi accompanies produced works with archival materials and posters, reactivating the historic document into a contemporary context. The original poster from the Italian film La Pelle (1981) invites us to make a connection between the pages of the journalist Curzio Malaparte’s homonymous novel, which inspires Liliana Cavani’s film, and the human being growing thirst for power. The visionary Malaparte’s look describes the misery in which the city of Naples is immersed after war, a place where the reality of the streets in ruins and another hidden reality under the appearance of its devastating context coexists, a complex and historical reality that emerges and overflows into scenes worthy of Brueghel’s painting: A dinner served by an American general in which a mermaid stew is tasted, fish and meat of woman, vaginal blonde wigs made by the Neapolitans to please the Afro-American soldiers.

We find a similar devastating scenario in the archival photographs from La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers, 1966) film, by Gillo Pontocorvo. This film chronicles Algeria’s Independence battle won faced against the French soldiers, witnessing a key chapter in the history of Algerian revolution, the colonizing powers’ destiny and the anti-colonial revolution. The Battle of Algiers is considered a historical work more than an explicitly political film for his artistic ambition that goes along the evident ideology and controversy. fatmi makes use of the film’s historical and ideological importance to reflect the inevitable bilateral involvements that every national liberation war always implies.

In Quatrième Couverture, begun over 20 years ago, Mounir Fatmi appropriates front covers and back covers of French and International magazines to build a vast visual archive and establish his particular timeline of parallelisms and differences in the media and the advertising images. In this case, the cover of the French magazine Express shows the title "Les Six clés de la Guerre" [the six keys of war] associated with a Marlboro’s cigarette advertisement. The artist identifies a convergence between the image that sells warfare information and the one that sells massive consumer products. The connections and divergences of these global images act as a common denominator between information and market economies of our times.

Muhammed Ali, The Labyrinth (2010) interleaves images of African-American boxer at different stages of his life with the flickering image of a labyrinth, unceasingly accompanied by a voice-over that narrates some of the episodes of Muhammad Ali’s life as a news broadcast. mounir fatmi uses the boxer’s story in order to communicate his perceptions and interpretations on Islam 's relationship with the United States. Muhammed Ali had a great notoriety in the United States, partly due to his bond with Islam and his subsequent conversion. The boxer turned his back on any public opinion, shattering stereotypes about racism and religion. Despite of coming from a segregated society, he declared that America was the best country in the world, although his relationship with the US government radically changed in 1966, when he refused to be drafted to serve his country in the Vietnam War. Muhammed Ali, Afro- American and US citizen, had to accept all sorts of criticisms and was threatened being sentenced with prision.

The exhibition concludes with After the Fall’s sculpture (2007), consisting of a fractured single broken horse jumping red pole leaning unsteadily to a mirror surface. Through the fragility of the chosen materials and his direct visual language, Fatmi makes an insightful reference to the United States, with a prescient suggestion of instability on the eve of the international financial crisis that began in 2008. Mounir Fatmi seizes visual poetic and meanings to translate with irony, violence and subversion the political, economic and social events in the course of history.

Expositions personnelles I Solo shows (selection)
Ceysson & Bénétière 2019Wilde Gallery 2019CDAN Museum 2018
Göteborgs Konsthall 2018Art Front Gallery 2017Officine dell'Immagine 2017
Galerie De Multiples 2017Analix Forever Gallery 2017Jane Lombard Gallery 2017
Galerie Delacroix 2017Goodman Gallery 2017Lawrie Shabibi 2017
Analix Forever Gallery 2017Maisons des Arts du Grütli 2017ADN Platform 2016
Keitelman Gallery 2016Labanque 2016MMP+ 2016
MAMCO 2015MIAMIBUS 2015Analix Forever 2015
CCC Tours 2014ADN Galeria 2014ADN Platform 2014
Analix Forever 2014Yvon Lambert 2014Museum Kunst Palast 2013
Keitelman Gallery 2013Paradise Row 2013Institut Français de Casablanca 2013
Galerie Fatma Jellal 2013Analix Forever 2013Goodman Gallery 2012
Shoshana Wayne Gallery 2012 Lombard-Fried Projects 2012Galerie Conrads 2011
Fondazione Collegio San Carlo 2011Galerie Hussenot 2011AKBank Sanat 2011
Galerie Hussenot 2010Galerie Conrads 2009FRAC Alsace 2009
Galerie Delacroix IFM 2008Creux de l'enfer 2008Galerie Ferdinand van Dieten 2007
Musée national Pablo Picasso 2007Shoshana Wayne Gallery 2007La maison rouge 2007
Lombard Freid projects 2007Bank galerie 2006CAC d'Istres 2005
Espace des arts Colomiers 2004 CAC Le Parvis 2004Migros museum 2003
Biennales & Triennales I Biennials, Triennials (selection)
13eme Biennale de Dakar 20187th Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 20181er Biennale de Rabat 2018
57th Venice Biennale 20177eme Biennale d'Architecture de Shenzhen 201711eme Biennale de Bamako 2017
15eme Biennale d'art contemporain Alios! 2017Biennale Poznan 2016Setouchi Triennale 2016
10èmes Rencontres de Bamako 20155th Thessaloniki Biennale 201516th Media art Biennale Wro 2015
1st Trio Biennale, Rio de Janeiro 20152nd Bodrum Biennial 2015Fotofest Biennial 2014
5th Auckland Triennial 201310th Dakar Biennial 2012 White House Biennial 2013
Manif d'Art 6 20123rd Thessaloniki Biennial 201111th Lyon Biennial 2011
54th Venice Biennial 2011XIIth Cairo Biennial 20101st Mediterranean Biennial of Haifa 2010
Port Izmir 2, international triennial of contemporary art 20108th Dakar Biennial 2010Biennale Cuvée 2010
Xth Lyon Biennial 2009Art Tel Aviv 20098èmes Rencontres de Bamako 2009
1st Brussels Biennial 2008Pontevedra Biennial 200824th Biennial Memorial of Nadezda Petrovic 2007
1st Luanda Triennial 2007 52th Venice Biennial 20078th Sharjah Biennial 2007
2nd Seville Biennial 2006 Gwangju biennial 2004 7th Dakar Biennial 2006
4th Dakar Biennial 20007th Biennal Art Media 1999
Expositions collectives I Group shows (selection)
Maison Populaire 2019Bedford Gallery 2019 Evliyagil Museum 2019
Jane Lombard 2019James Cohan 2019Mathaf 2018
MACAAL 2018Fondation Boghossian 2018Sammlung Philara 2018
Nasher Museum of Art 2018Ellen Noël Art Museum 2018Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea 2018
MOCAK 2018Bozar Center for fine arts 2018Philharmonie de Paris 2018
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery 2018Goodman Gallery 2018Institut Français de Saint Louis 2018
Pensacola Museum of Art 2018 Von der Heydt-Kunsthalle 2018Gifu Museum 2017
Huntsville Museum of Art 2017Bandjoun Station 2017Institut des Cultures d’Islam 2017
Bellevue Arts Museum 2017Mudac 2017Primo Marella Gallery 2017
Goodman Gallery 2017MACAAL 2017Museum De Wieger 2017
Conrads Gallery 2017Galerie Ceysson & Bénétière 2017Keitelman Gallery 2017
Musée du Pays de Hanau 2017Château de Servières 2017CEAA 2017
Fondazione Fotografia Modena 2017H&R Block Artspace 2017Bedford Gallery 2016
Beijing Today Art Museum 2016Hôtel des Arts 2016Museum of Old and New Art 2016
Labanque 2016Les Photaumnales 2016Al Maaden 2016
Kunsthalle Faust 2016Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg 2016Archives Nationales 2016
Bardo National Museum 2016Arles 2016Musée d'Art Moderne de Troyes 2016
Rotor 2016Goodman Gallery 2016Musée Bartholdi 2016
Institut d’Art Contemporain 2016Santander Art Gallery 2016Brandts & Viborg Kunsthal 2016
Fondazione VIDEOINSIGHT 2015A Tale of a Tub 2015Contemporary Istanbul 2015
ADMAF 2015Goodman Gallery 2015Keitelman Gallery 2015
Galeria Municipal do Porto 2015Fabra i Coats 2015AMOCA 2015
Monastère Royal de Brou 2015CAC La Traverse 2015FRAC Franche-Comté 2015
ZKM 2015The National Library 2015Station 2015
La FabriC - Fondation Salomon 2015Van Abbemuseum 2015The Brooklyn Museum 2015
MMP+ 2015Sharjah Museum 2015Kamel Lazaar Foundation 2015
Sextant & + 2015Gwangju Museum of Art 2014QAGOMA 2014
N.B.K. 2014CAyT Centro de Arte y Technologia 2014Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery 2014
Station 2014Institut du Monde Arabe 2014Art Gallery of Western Australia 2014
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art 2014Palais de Tokyo 2014L'art dans les chapelles 2013
MAD Museum 2013Marseille - Provence 2013V&A Museum 2013
30 ans des FRAC 2013MAC Marseille 2013MAXXI 2013
Museu de Arte Moderna de Salvador de Bahia 2012Institut du Monde Arabe 2012Edge of Arabia 2012
Apexart 2012B.P.S. 22 2012Dorsky Gallery 2012
International Center of Graphic Arts 2012Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art 2011Fondation Blachère 2011
Brooklyn Museum 2011Dublin Contemporary 2011Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts 2011
Museum on the Seam 2011Tri Postal Lille 2011Meeting Point 6 2011
The New School 2010Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil 2010Fondazione Fotografia Modena 2010
Aargauer Kunsthaus 2010KAdE 2010Kunst Museum Bochum 2010
Moscow museum of modern art 2010Art Gallery of Ontario 2010Fondation Gulbenkian 2009
Centro de Arte de Santa Monica 2009Beirut Art Center 2009Salina Art Center 2009
Kunstverein Medienturm Ilz 2008Te Papa museum 2008Studio Museum Harlem 2008
Haus der Kunst 2008Centre Pompidou 2008CAAM 2008
Centro de Arte de Santa Monica 2008Johannesburg Art Gallery 2007CAC Le Parvis 2006
CAPC musée d'art contemporain 2006Bank Galerie 2006Les Abattoirs 2006
Moderna museet 2006Mori art museum 2006Wereldmuseum 2005
Centre Pompidou 2005The Stenersen Museum 2005Saw gallery 2005
Konstmuseum 2005Hayward Gallery 2005Museum Kunst Palast 2004
Tri Postal Lille 20042nd international contemporary art meeting 2003Espacio C 2002
O.N.A. Foundation 1999CAC Castres 1999Musée des beaux-arts de Dôle 1999
Musée des arts décoratifs 1999  
interventions publiques I public space projects (selection)
metavilla 2015Collateral Project to the 12th Havana Biennial 2015Prison Qara Meknès 2015
Art Paris 2015Analix Forever 2014Sculpture Beach Art Dubai 2012
Le Printemps de Septembre 2012Narracje 4 2012Ivry 2010
FIAC Tuileries 2010 Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2004