Available from the 19th of September 2020 to the 3rd of January 2021, the new exhibition ‘Trembling Landscape:Between Reality and Fiction’ brings together eleven artists from North Africa and the Middle East. Presented at the EYE FILM Museum in Amsterdam, these engaged and versatile artists look at landscapes from a novel and critical stand. Not only exploring the question of borders, these artists bring to life stories about landscapes’ past, present and future.
Blurring reality and fiction, this exhibition challenges our deeply rooted understanding, visualization, and imagination of landscapes. Especially, it explores the questions of colonialism and violence through the lenses of natural, political, and cultural boundaries.In fact, landscape defines, composes, and reinforces one’s identity. It is linked to a greater scheme of national, regional and international relationships.
Among these great works, Heba Y.Amin and Wael Shawky appear particularly remarkable. Respectively born in Cairo and Alexandria, these two artists base their works in comprehensive research merging politics, technology, and architecture with national, religious and artistic identity.
Here, Heba Y. Amin presents ‘TheEarth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid’ (2016) and ‘The Pupil of the Mosquitos’s Eye’(2016).
The artist looks at landscapes as a demonstration of dominant political power and tries to counter the narratives of colonial history. Interestingly,she merges both the historical account of the 11th century Kitab al-Masalik wa’l-Mamalik[The Books of Roads and Kingdoms] to the contemporary migration routes fromAfrica to Europe. Highly critical, these series of images highlight the underlying predatory view and power dynamics imposed on landscapes. Especially,Amin reflects on the extent to which the landscape pervades the body in an immutable manner.
In a similar vein, Wael Shawky presents a collection of drawings and a film entitled ‘Al Araba al Madfuna’ realized between 2013 and 2018. Particularly interested in storytelling, the artist presents Egyptian contemporary culture through the lenses of historical narratives and myths. Here, Wael Shawky blurs the boundaries between landscape,magical stories, and creatures. Using child actors dressed up as adults, Shawky recounts the lost custom narratives while raising questions on the border between childlike wonder and spiritual doctrine.
‘Trembling Landscape: Between Reality and Fiction’ offers a wide range of work: photography, drawings, films and walk-in installations. Sometimes surprising, heartbreaking and even intimidating, this elegantly curated collection plays on all level of the senses.
While diverse, these incredible works provide a comprehensive geographical and cultural understanding of one’s relationship with the border. It appears clear that natural landscape is also a constructed landscape witnessing geographical and historical distribution of power. Inscribed on maps, these long-standing geopolitical fault lines remain an entrenched source of influence.
Definitely one of the best and original exhibitions to check out in Amsterdam this winter!
‘Trembling Landscape: BetweenReality and Fiction’ is curated by Nat Muller in collaboration with Joap Guldemond and Marente Bloemheuvel.
Artists presented in ‘Trembling Landscape: Between Reality and Fiction’:
Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme,Heba Y. Amin, Jananne Al-Ani, Ali Cherri, Joana Hadjithomas & KhalilJoreige, Mohamad Hafeda, Larissa Sansour, Hrair Sarkissian, Wael Shawky.
To view: Trembling LandscapeExhibition, presentation clip by the Eye film Museum: https://youtu.be/TjEF0lN8Whg
To read: ‘How to disappear’ by Haytham El-Wardany published by Sternberg Press in 2020 (8€00)
Not only diverse in their origins,these artists offer a wide range of work: photography, drawings, films and walk-in installations. Sometimes surprising, heartbreaking and even intimidating, this elegantly curated collection plays on all level of the senses.