OVERVIEWJAN 25 to APR 28Solo Exhibition
- Solo Exhibition
- Emerging Artists
- Modern Art
- Prints & Works on Paper
Dates and Opening hoursJAN 25 to APR 28, 2013
Monday to Friday — 11 am - 7.30 pm Saturday — 10 am - 9 pm Sunday and holidays — 10 am - 3 pm Closes on Tuesdays
Vernissage: 24 January 2013
MACBA presents the first retrospective exhibition of the artist Ahlam Shibli (Palestine, 1970), co-produced with the Jeu de Paume, Paris and Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto. This exhibition will bring together Shibli's most significant works from the last decade along with Death (2011–12), a new photo work produced especially for this occasion.
Ahlam Shibli's photo works are a complex testimony to the presence and absence of a home. Using documentary procedures, Shibli has developed a body of work eschewing the objectivity associated to photojournalism. Rather than visual evidence her photographic practice involves a conversational engagement with the subjects. Each series encapsulates the knowledge obtained through an empirical contact with colonialism and conflict, while eluding climax and drama often deployed by media representations.
Series such as Goter (2002–03), Arab al-Sbaih (2007) and The Valley (2007–08) are informed by a topographic character. Shibli's views of landscapes, towns, precarious settlements, interiors and exteriors as well as cemeteries exhibit an accumulation of signs that reveal the effects of the Israeli rule over Palestine. An outstanding example of this complex narrative is Trackers (2005), a series of photographs concerned with young Palestinian men who decide to enrol in the Israeli army. In the artist's own words, ‘the project investigates the price paid by a colonized minority to a majority of colonizers, so they can be accepted, change their identity, survive, or perhaps all of this and more'.
More recent works such as Trauma (2008–09) have confronted the ambiguous nature of colonialism and occupation and the relentless search for the meanings of home. Starting with commemorations of the atrocious massacre at Tulle that took place on 9th July 1944, Shibli reflects on the paradox of a population that resisted the German occupation, only to embark a few years later on a colonial war in Indochina and Algeria. Series such as this, or the one dedicated to the daily life in Polish orphanages, Dom Dziecka. The house starves when you are away (2008), or Eastern LGBT (2006), in which Shibli documents the lives of transsexual communities, extend her modus operandi beyond the Palestinian issue.
In the series Death (2011–12), a pivotal work in this exhibition, Shibli explores some of the ways in which the absent ones are present again – 're-presented': Palestinian fighters who fell in the course of their armed resistance against an Israeli incursion, victims of the Israeli military killed under different circumstances (Shahid), men and women who exploded themselves to assassin Israelis (Istishhadi), or the prisoners who in very global terms might be considered failed martyrs.
The numerous representations of martyrs are the visual motif that allows Shibli to reveal how the Palestinian community structures the public and domestic sphere around these absent figures and their death. Often reduced to iconic reproductions that flatten bodies and faces in the name of national identity politics, the compulsive proliferation of memorials bears testimony to the phantomatic nature of home.
Opening: 24 January 2013. Dates: 25 January – 28 April 2013. Curators: Carles Guerra, Marta Gili and João Fernandes. Organisation and production: The exhibition is co-produced by the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris and Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto.
If you have visited this event, please share your opinion with us.
For full information on our approach to users' comments on our site, please see our publishing policy.