THE DAY OF THE AWAKENING
CDAN - Centro de Arte y Naturaleza, Huesca
June 28th 2018 – October 7th 2018
The exhibition brings together a series of works by Morrocan artist Mounir Fatmi which explore the foundations of history and social nature, expressed through the written word and in different kinds of language: religious, political, ideological and artistic. On display are a total of 20 projects undertaken from 2002 to today comprised of hundreds of pieces from a variety of disciplines such as drawings, photographs, sculpture and video. The discourse of The Day of the Awakening focuses however on two main projects: L´index et la machine and Out of History.
The Index and the Machine (2016) is an installation consisting of a linotype (a machine which mechanizes the process of composing a text to be printed), several jumper cables and papers. Weighing one ton and measuring 180 x 226 x 160 cm, the work’s central theme revolves around censorship and intends to make the audience reflect on how the invention of print revolutionized writing, literature and culture. In this way, Fami brings to light the paradoxical duality faced by the mechanization of writing. In broad terms, the artist raises questions about the concepts of culture and history before the audience.
Until the creation of print, certain instruments and tools permitted the controlled circulation of religious ideas and following its invention the widespread dissemination of books took place. However, this also lead to a rise in censorship: the first text published, the Bible, immediately became a model for all that followed, prevailing over other publications and overshadowing the evolution of even the most advanced theories. The Church later began to publish normative texts such as the Index of Forbidden Books”, which was expanded in numerous editions until it was abolished in 1966. For four centuries, most of the great philosophers, authors and writers such as Voltaire or Descartes were "blacklisted" and their work was branded as dangerous by the Church.
Out of History (2005-2006) is an installation made up of a series of posters installed along 11 meters of wall together with the videos, History of History (2006) and Memorandum (2009). It takes shape when Fatmi discovers that FBI files on the political party, the Black Panthers, have been declassified and access to them is available in the public domain. This work reflects on the social and revolutionary movement founded in the USA in 1966 by Malcolm X which played a fundamental role in the history of civil rights, especially those of black Americans. Through exhibition of the files, the Moroccan artist reveals the repression of African-American activists, who died or were imprisoned, by this public American agency. In addition, it includes the testimony of David Hillard, the party’s principle figure, which is key to exposing the censorship imposed by the secret services. With his "history of history" he reflects on what remains of his claims and how valid they are today.
The day of the Awakening Day is inspired by the title of and installation by Mounir Fatmi, who participated first hand in the creation of this exhibition. Its epigraph, simple and enigmatic, acts as a metaphor for an artistic work that constructs visual spaces and linguistic games. In this way, his work offers a view of the world from a different perspective, avoiding the blindness provided by conventions.