Mounir Fatmi – History Is Not Mine
74 Newman Street
London, W1T 3DB
April 19 – June 1
“All warfare is based on deception” – The Art of War, Sun Tzu
Paradise Row presents History Is Not Mine the first UK solo exhibition by Mounir Fatmi.
The immediate subject of History Is Not Mine is censorship, broadening out into the underlying theme of Fatmi’s work – meaning and its deformation by power.
Fatmi’s work is driven by the desire to evade all forms of indoctrination. Employing a wide range of media, Fatmi attempts this through the construction of highly tactical visual spaces and linguistic games that identify and foreground the violent operations of the forces of capital, politics and religion to dominate thought and language. These aestheticized and elegantly seditious provocations are designed to generate scepticism and criticality.
The show’s title plays on the title of a group exhibition, History Is Mine, staged last year in Toulouse where a video work by Fatmi, Technologia, which combines verses of the Koran with elements inspired by Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs, was removed from display following violence and rioting from certain local elements in response to the work. Shortly afterwards Paris’s Institut du Monde Arabe censored Fatmi’s video piece Sleep Al-Naim, excluding the work from an exhibition on Arabic creativity.
This exhibtion marks the first showing of Sleep Al-Naim in the UK. A six-hour long video installation that insidiously inhabits the form of Andy Warhol’s experimental film Sleep, Sleep Al-Naim depicts a sleeping Salman Rushdie (rendered in 3D digital animation). In the context of the threat to Rushdie’s life following the 1989 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, Rushdie’s sleep becomes ambivalent, a purgatorial middle-point between life and death.
Alongside Sleep Al-Naim, Fatmi presents a major new installation Without History, formed from a series of jump poles (typically used in equestrian competition) inscribed with excerpts from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and installed so as to impede the movement of visitors to the gallery. The exhibition will also show new works from his well-known series Circles and his series of sculptures deploying Koranic phrases laser cut into circular saw blades.
Mounir Fatmi (b, 1970, Tangier) is a multimedia artist based in Paris who has exhibited internationally. His works have been shown in numerous solo exhibitions at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, National Picasso Museum War & Peace, FRAC Alsace, Le Parvis Contemporary Art Center and the Fondazione Collegio San Caro Modena. He has participated in several group shows at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, The Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha and the Hayward Gallery in London. He has also been nominated for the 2013 Jameel Prize at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
His installations have also been exhibited at numerous biennials including Venice (52nd and 54th ), Sharjah (8th), Dakar (5th and 7th), Seville (2nd), Gwangju (5th) and Lyon (10th). Mounir Fatmi has been awarded several prizes including Cairo Biennial Prize in 2010, the Uriöt prize, Amsterdam and the Grand Prize Leopold Sedar Senghor of the 7th Dakar Biennial in 2006.