Curatorial Practice: curator and Producer
Modern Times: mounir fatmi
Miami Beach Urban Studios
June - August 2015
in collaboration with MFA in Visual Arts: Curatorial Practice Track candidates Danielle Damas, Meg Kaplan-Noach, and Colette Alhabahbeh-Mello.
This exhibition consisted of a trio of video works by Paris-based and Morrocan-born mounir fatmi. "Modern Times," the centerpiece, was made in 2010 as a response to the accelerated construction of the metropolis in Arab countries that he felt mirrored the dynamism of the Western industrial revolution of the early 1900s. Events such as the 2011 protests and rebellions that spread across the Middle East, known as The Arab Spring, have potentially shifted the meaning of fatmi's elegantly constructed rendering of a machine composed of Arabic script.
The other two videos explicitly reference the censorship and sensitivity around language. "Sleep," for instance, is a 3D rendering of Salman Rushdie who is well known for having written about the life of Muhammed that resulted in a fatwa, or call to murder for blasphemy. fatmi depicts him soundly sleeping despite the heightened situation. The other video “History is not Mine” is a response to the artist's own disillusionment of censure of a work in which he used images of the Koran that were presented not as the artist had intended. In this video, the artist finds himself unable to mobilize and shape language.
All the works deal with language in different and not always literal ways, but overall the installation of the three works are meant to bring to the surface the slipperiness of interpretation rather than contain it as singular.
–Alpesh Kantilal Patel