mounir fatmi
ADN Galeria, Barcelona

Light & Fire, 2014

Light & Fire

ADN Galeria

22.11.2014 - 16.01.2015


ADN Galeria presents Light & Fire, the first solo show by Mounir Fatmi in Spain. The exhibition brings together a series of works that explore the basis of history and society expressed through the written word and in various forms of language: religious, political, ideological and literary. The title’s ambiguity positions us ahead of these two elements paradox: light and fire. Since Platon's cave myth, these elements are the source of our civilization but have also become the cause of its destruction.

The exhibition begins with the impressive installation Without History (2007), consisting of 29 jumping poles strategically spread all over the entrance floor and in which there are inscribed quotations from the book The Art of War, by the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. fatmi often appeals to these objects in diverse installations and sculptures, which are translated as obstacles, stating that, above all, the obstacle is like an art work: fragile, unstable, vulnerable and always threatened by possible collapse.

Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Albert Camus, Michel Foucault are the builders names of modern and post-modern thinking that appear in The Monuments (2008-2009). Their names inscribed on these construction helmets, spotless, suggest us the idea of construction linked to the concept of the artist as producer and the idea of hard but fragile work; not only do we find this parallelism, but also the suggestion of something that is "under construction", in other words, something that is in perpetual construction, reconstruction or deconstruction. And this brings us to the thinking essence, the feeling of curiosity, to rethink, to constantly question the human condition. This installation reminds us that we are allowed to think, express, speak, listen to and read.

In The dynamic Geography of History (2006) mounir fatmi associates political ideologies with artistic movements. Through this equivalencies, the artist proposes a rough link between the political and the aesthetic, such as capitalism with minimalism, futurism with fascism or socialism with constructivism. The viewer is confronted with a series of ironic and humorous pairings that nonetheless ring true of the XX century.

Charlie Hebdo (2011) is a French satirical, ironic and left-wing weekly newspaper that gained international relevance when published some controversial Muhammad cartoons in 2006. In this piece, the artist shows the cover of a 1973 edition in which the viewer can read the Charlie Hebdo request to the French military authorities to detonate a bomb on the top of the Eiffel Tower. A written demand done 40 years ago that nowadays would cause a big stir and media controversy. Undoubtedly this is both an ironic text about France's correlation with atomic bombs, being one of the countries with the largest nuclear arsenal, and the artist’s critique towards the absurdity and cynicism as diving force of military conflicts.

History is not mine (2013-2014) is a black and white video showing the artist's own hand trying to typing using hammers. The red tape represents the symbolic load of narrating the violence from the beauty of writing. mounir fatmi could refer not only to blood, to a suppress account or to colonial power mechanisms, but rather speaks of the contemporary art world reality. The video History is Not Mine arises from the events happened in 2012, when the artist showed in Toulouse, within the context of the Contemporary Creation Festival Printemps du Septembre, his work Tecnología, an installation mixing Coranic verses with Rotoreliefs elements inspired by Marcel Duchamp. Projected onto a ground passed through pedestrians, this installation gave rise to violent protests by some Muslim groups who labeled Fatmi’s work blasphemous. This action ended up with the censorship and withdrawal of his work from Festival of Toulouse. Ironically, the work's title plays on the title of the group exhibition History Is Mine, staged in Printemps de Septembre Festival, and reflects mounir’s direct response and positioning towards this event.

The photomontage “Who is Joseph Anton” (2012) arises after a meeting that took place between the artist and the writer Salman Rushdie in Brussels, on the occasion of the author’s autobiography presentation entitled Joseph Anton. This work leads us in the footsteps of

Salman Rushdie, who used this pseudonym inspired by two of his favorite writers -Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov- to live and write during his period of enforced hiding caused by the numerous threats he received by the religious Iran leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, who accused the writer of conspiring against Islam in The Satanic Verses. This work takes as its point of departure the co-existence of three writers, three identities, and three voices, henceforth brought up against one another to draw a new portrait: that of the ‘fugitive’.

The writer’s identity reappears at the video Sleep Al Naim (2005-2012), showing himself in the sleep ambivalence, both quiet and disturbed, a state of vulnerability mixed with strength. Begun in 2005, Sleep Al Naim is a work of fiction in black and white showing the writer sleeping peacefully, his bare chest heaving and falling to the rhythm of his breathing. The full six-hour-long video reinterprets Andy Warhol’s groundbreaking Sleep (1963), showing continuous image of the poet and friend John Giorno sleeping, an image that suggests the ambivalence of a physical abandonment, quiet and calm. Taking into account the threats to his life since the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses in 1988, drifting off to sleep is a way for Salman Rushdie to put himself in a vulnerable position. But at the same time, this moment of unconsciousness expresses strength and confidence. mounir fatmi uses digital and 3D technology to rebuild the writer’s face from numerous images in different periods and the artist’s own breathing.

mounir fatmi encourages the visitors to question the history and violence involved in his writing and research. The works presented at ADN Galeria evoke recurring subjects for the artist, such as the border, the object desecration, the role of language and the writing. There is no doubt that beyond his subversive works is both the desire to understand the world in which we live and release it from any indoctrination form.

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