*18th June – 31st July* @ SMBA – Mounira Al Solh, Bassam Ramlawi, René Daniëls

Posted on June 18, 2011

Mounira Al Solh, The Mute Tongue, 2010, Video installation with various monitors scattered or hidden in the space, Variable dimensions.

18 June – 31 July, 2011
Official opening and book presentation on Saturday, 25 June, at 4:00 p.m.
Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam proudly presents the first large-scale solo exhibition by Mounira Al Solh in The Netherlands. Al Solh’s work can be described as an inner conflict with social environments which impose national, cultural and religious identity. In that sense it is a reflection on the social and religious tensions in the country of her birth, Lebanon, which has undergone several civil wars and still occupies a sensitive position in the present eruptions in the Middle East. But here in The Netherlands one’s origins and culture are becoming an increasingly important aspect in social intercourse too. Al Solh approaches this fact with a mixture of autobiographical elements and humour – because how else can one approach censorship, repression, schizophrenia and the discordant culture in which everyone has a role?

The exhibition comprises various video works, including A Double Burger and Two Metamorphoses… and The Mute Tongue. The first can be interpreted as Al Solh’s wrestling with her life as a commuter artist, shuttling between Beirut and Amsterdam. In the second, 19 Arab proverbs are acted out in short films, and their comic potential maximized. A considerable part of the exhibition is devoted to a survey of the work of the figure Bassam Ramlawi. Ramlawi is a juice seller in Beirut who has studied art in The Netherlands, and since done portraits of people from around his shop in Beirut. He also reflects on life in the Lebanese capital through the drawings that he makes when he has to wait somewhere. A documentary shows that he is familiar with the oeuvre of Cindy Sherman and with a famous portraitist of the inter-war period, the German artist Otto Dix, but above all he admires the work of the Dutch artist René Daniëls. The stylistic ambiguities in Daniëls’ drawings and paintings form a parallel with the way in which Ramlawi and Al Solh go through life: Al Solh as an artist in two worlds, Ramlawi as an artist on the one side and a merchant on the other, and whose existence as such is to be credited to many ambiguities. Crudely put, the exhibition in SMBA is the result of this.

Official opening and book presentation ‘In a Time Fleece’ with a lecture/performance by Tony Chakar
Saturday 25 June, 4 p.m.

The opening reception follows after the performance.
Download the SMBA Newsletter with texts by Merel Cladder and Elizabeth Kassab from www.smba.nl

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