Subversion brings together eleven
emerging and internationally recognised artists in a unique group show of
new and recent contemporary art that explores and rethinks notions of
'modern Arab identity.'
Rather than conforming, the artists function as performers, tricksters
and interventionists, often using dark humour to explore and parody the
social masks they are expected to wear by everyone from politicians to the
media, and the art world.
Combining autobiography with fiction, the artists can be found
cross-referencing popular culture and art history with subversive parody of
current socio-political expectations. Their work expresses the
contradictions faced by individuals who must perform multiple roles in a
society that is constantly shifting in the manner in which it is mediated,
articulated, and presented. Together, they illustrate fragments of the
distorted imagination that often preoccupies the region that we have come
to know as the 'Arab world'.
Emerging Gaza artists and filmmakers Tarzan
and Arab will present their award-winning Gazawood
project (2010), including a series of striking cinema poster pastiches
of imaginary movies from different genres, and a short film
Colourful Journey, which will be screened in a pop-up cinema in
Gallery 3. Based in a region that has not had a functioning cinema since
the 1980s and heavily relies on satellite TV and illegal DVD copies, the
works strongly reflect the twins' irrevocable passion for film.
In A Space Exodus (2009), Palestinian artist Larissa
Sansour adapts a segment of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space
Odyssey, providing it with a new regional context by positing the idea
of the first Palestinian in space. Originally developed as part of the A
Space Exodus installation, Subversion will also feature the
UK premiere of Sansour's Palestinauts (2010) and three preliminary
sketches for the Nation
Estate project, a sci-fi photo series conceived in the wake
of the Palestinian bid for nationhood at the UN.
Other highlights include Sharif Waked's To Be Continued (2009),
which suspends our disbelief, merging suicide bomber with Scheherazade to
poke fun at the forms of address that the mainstream media has conditioned
audiences into. Marwa Arsanios uses noirish humour to rewrite the hidden
romantic and erotic history between men in Lebanon, and Akram Zaatari
presents two poetic tales that aim to resolve issues of sexual identity,
separation and longing.
Visitors are also invited to take part in Wafaa Bilal's interactive
video game Virtual Jihadi (2009), in which the artist has hacked the
Al Qaeda version of the widely marketed 'Quest for Saddam/The Night of Bush
Curated by Omar Kholeif
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Tarzan and Arab
Funded by Manchester City Council, Arts Council England and AGMA.
Media Partner: Contemporary Practices. Resource areas curated by
On 13 April 2012, Cornerhouse presents a
symposium entitled The
New Arab: Art and Culture from the 'Imagined' Arab World,
which provides a rare opportunity to hear from global experts on arts
and culture in and of the Arab world. Using Subversion
as a starting point, guests and speakers are invited to consider parallels
between the ironies associated with the politics of history and
representation. Chaired by Omar Kholeif.
Contemporary Arab and Lebanese Cinema
A unique film
programme of contemporary Arab and Lebanese cinema programmed to accompany
Subversion. Including films from a generation of filmmakers whose
memories of The Lebanese Civil War remain omnipresent, including Joana
Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rania Stephan, Georges Hachem, Nadine
Labaki, and a UK Premiere from Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, the season
highlights some of the most critically acclaimed films recently produced in
the Arab region.
Season supported by The University of Manchester and British
Academy International Partnerships with the curatorial collaboration of the
Arab Film Festival, Liverpool.