Breaking the Cycle
BARO Galeria, Palma
June 08 - July 15, 2023
You can find the catalog at this link:
Baró Galeria is delighted to present “Breaking the Cycle”, mounir fatmi’s first solo exhibition in their gallery in Palma de Mallorca, within the frame of Art Palma Summer on 8 June 2023.
The exhibition is a reflection on the need to break from pre-established patterns, habits and repetitive cycles that often govern us without our awareness. The pieces presented in “Breaking the Cycle” invite viewers to explore how in breaking conventional cycles, we are rewarded with awareness causing a meaningful change of perspective.
fatmi engages in various ways of breaking cycles, whether by deconstructing symbols and clichés, detaching from norms and conventions, or by highlighting the complexity and ambiguity of our behavior, and our relationships. Part of the works play with the notion of transformation, causing us to question our perception of time and space. Others offer a reflection of the symbiotic relationship between the individual and society, showing how behaviors and attitudes of some influence others.
By breaking this cycle, the artist encourages us to get out of our comfort zone and explore new horizons, to consider different perspectives, to see the world from a new angle. The exhibition is a deep reflection on the contradictions of contemporary society, a call to action, an incentive to reflect on all the events that change our lives daily.
The exhibition opens with a visually impactful installation, Oil, Oil, Oil, Oil, made up of black paint-soaked ‘agals’ that fall to the ground. Said installation alludes to a clear sign of rampant consumerism and excessive use of oil that characterizes our society. This installation suggests the idea of a world where accumulation and consumption have become the main objective of existence, to the detriment of the quality of life, the world and the well-being of people. The installation reflects on the need to find sustainable alternatives, begging a reconsideration of our model of economic development and its environmental consequences.
fatmi also addresses the issue of the speed of industrialization and the growth of cities, which is seen today in the rapid development of the Middle East. Cities are being built in the desert, with buildings put up so fast that there is no time to reflect on the changes they cause. In the video Speed City, fatmi explores how buildings and public spaces can become tools of oppression. The artist highlights how the design of architecturally spectacular buildings can be used as a political strategy ignoring any ecological considerations.
Referring to September 11, the installation Save Manhattan, composed of VHS cassettes, recalls the New York skyline before the collapse of the Twin Towers. This installation highlights the tension that reigned at that time, the fear felt all over the world in the face of terrorist threat. The work is a critical analysis of architecture as a target of attack in times of ideological crisis and invites the audience to consider how fear can condition the way we live and see other human beings.
Brainteaser for Moderate Muslim is a series of sculptures inspired by the Rubik’s Cube, that looks at the relationship of a believer to an object of worship. It studies the ritual gesture accomplished by the believer during the pilgrimage to Mecca, namely the circumambulation around the Kaaba (“cube”). The logical game is conceived as a representation of the monument of worship (the Kaaba), emulating its black color and ornamentation on its superior section by a calligraphic frieze expressing the Muslim profession of faith. In this way, fatmi compares, with what can be perceived as humor or even irony, the irrational profession of faith of a believer walking in circles around the cube in Mecca with the rational, logical, and mathematic strategies of a player trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
Finally, the black & white self-portraits from the series, Peripheral Vision, show the artist’s face partly disappearing behind a large white geometry protractor; but his eyes remain visible thanks to two holes in the center of the measuring instrument. The futuristic aesthetic of this image suggests an avant-garde approach, conceived as a manner of questioning the way we look at what surrounds us, a new awareness of what connects us to the world and of the comprehension of its limits.
Baró Galeria, July 2023