mounir fatmi
A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam

The Migrant (Moving) Image, 2015

The Migrant (Moving) Image

A Tale of a Tub

14 November 2015 - 13 September 2016

Curator: Nathanja van Dijk


A Tale of a Tub and EYE present the film program The Migrant (Moving) Image. The program sheds new light on the migration crisis from an artistic perspective. Writers Kader Abdolah, Abdelkader Benali, Bas Heijne and theater director Ola Mafaalani respond to the artworks shown in the program.

After Rotterdam, Berlin, Ramallah, Marrakech, Miami and New York we stir up the conversation in Amsterdam about an alternative image of a society in which migration is an inescapable fact and is inextricably linked to our contemporary social, political and economic reality.


The Migrant (Moving) Image

The gates of Europe are being met by more refugees than ever. Meanwhile, the migratory question is leading to internal disunion as instability in the surrounding regions of the EU increases. With the program The Migrant (Moving) Image, A Tale of a Tub sheds new light on a society in which migration is a determinant factor and is inextricably linked to contemporary social, political and economic reality.

The image that is being portrayed in the media of the migration crisis is creating great worries worldwide, tapping into contradictory collective emotions of pity and fear. Within a framework of visual dominance, mass media has become a powerful tool and is of the main determinants of public opinion. The image of the migrant is mainly based on the images that are being circulated in (social) media. Even though these images form an important component of the migration flux, they are certainly not direct representations of reality.

News coverage about migrants systematically portrays the migrant as ‘the other’. Furthermore, the images that make it to our newspaper or our Facebook timeline either zoom in on the tragedies taking place at the border of Fortress Europe or underline the idea that migration forms a threat to European stability. These are the perspectives that the mainstream media commonly emphasize in their sensationalist accounts of migration, even when they report on Europe’s inability to deal accurately with the current influx of migrants or on the reactionary responses to immigrants. The result is a poor representation of the main protagonist of these images, who is being reduced to either victim or criminal. The complexity and impact of migration on the lives of individuals and on society at large gets lost.

Through a program of films, documentaries and public events, The Migrant (Moving) Image explores the possibility of an alternative image of a world in flux, beyond Fortress Europe. Artists featured in The Migrant (Moving) Image have image-based artistic practices rooted in photography, cinema, or new media formats. Often times, the work is informed by the artist’s distinct biographical experience of migration or exile.


Chapter 1 – Departure: Harraga (14 – 29 November 2015)

Harraga is the Arabic name for illegal migrant and literally means “those who burn”. The name relates to the illegal practice of burning immigration papers that tie them to their homeland, before embarking to their journey. In order to start a new life, they need to burn their bridges, to prevent a forced return to their previous lives. However, this radical act could also be interpreted differently. Migrants move straight through political, social and economic borders. Perhaps what the harraga aims to destroy are the boundaries that restrict people in their mobility. The films in this chapter tell the stories of those who need to live without identity papers, about live in exile from your homeland to your own skin and the possibility of radical equality and breaking fixed forms of identity.

Artists: Ursula Biemann (CH), Center for Political Beauty (DE), Fouad Elkory (FR), Mounir Fatmi (MA), Alfredo Jaar (CL), Isaac Julien (UK), Runo Lagomarsino (SE), Paulo Nazareth (BR), Adrian Paci (AL), Nicolas Provost (BE), Zineb Sedira (DZ).


Chapter 2 – Transit: Centro di Permaneza Temporanea (4 – 13 December 2015)

Centro di Pemanenza Temporanea (literally Center for Temporary Permanence) is the Italian name for detention centers where refugees and illegal immigrants are kept, to be rejected to their country of origin. The name also refers to the contradictory state of being ‘permanently temporary’ and the pervasive insecurity and anxiety that comes with the need for incessant mobility. This chapter sheds light on the inescapable fact that contemporary life is marked by a permanent state of transition: on the one hand the smooth flow of data and communication, on the other hand the movement of smugglers, people and ‘goods’. Films in this chapter testify of the plight of those displaced by war, poverty or inequality and the – often futile – attempts to reach a destination, only to find oneself entrapped, it testifies of the paradoxical reality of a life caught between deportation and conflict, between a homeland and the land of one’s dreams.

Artists: Chantal Akerman (BE), Marcos Avila Forero (CI), Olfa Ben Ali (FR), Halida Boughriet (DZ), Laurent Grasso (FR), Michal Helfman (IL), Isaac Julien (UK), Moshekwa Langa (ZA), Daniela Ortiz (PE) & Xosé Quiroga (ES), Adrian Paci (AL), Enrique Ramírez (CL).


Chapter 3 – Arrival: Heimweh, Fernweh (18 December 2015 – 10 January 2016)

Can we still imagine a place to call home in a rapidly changing world where people, power, culture and information are constantly evolving and moving? In a world marked by migration and displacement Heimweh (homesickness) and Fernweh (longing for a distant place) are intrinsically connected. The Portuguese notion of Saudade also embodies the many aspects of this sense of longing for something, which cannot be reached; the desire for a place in the world to belong. The films in this section reflect on what it means to live between two cultures, to be foreign, to search for a place to call home in an alien world.

Artists: Knut Åsdam (NO), Said Atabekov (KZ), Ali Cherri (LB), Dina Danish (FR), Mounir Fatmi (MA), Dor Guez (IL), Hamza Halloubi (MA), Mona Hatoum (LB), Isaac Julien (UK), Gerald Machona (ZA).


Epilogue – The Shores of an Island I Only Skirted (15 – 24 January 2016)

The film program The Migrant (Moving ) Image concludes with the epilogue: The Shores of an Island I Only Skirted. The double projection shows images of a small, seemingly idyllic island. However, when we learn that this is Utøya – the place that is marked by the unprecedented tragedy of Anders Breivik’s politically motivated massacre of 2011 – the image of the seemingly peaceful island is shrouded by an uncanny, haunting atmosphere. Meanwhile, the other side of the installation shows a collage of ‘found footage’ images of migration. The Shores of an Island I Only Skirted sketches a disturbing image of Europe: a metaphorical island that is often imagined as a utopia, but for many proves to be just the opposite.

Artists: Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen (NL)

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