Scratching on Things I Could Disavow engages with the fast-paced development in cities such as Abu-Dhabi, Beirut, Cairo, Doha, Istanbul and Sharjah of a new infrastructure for the visual arts. In a context where cultural tourism has become an instrument of economic growth and power, Raad’s project considers the ideological, economic and political dimensions of this phenomenon to ask whether and how culture and tradition in the Arab world may have been affected, materially and immaterially, by the various wars that have been and are still being waged in this volatile region. Raad’s works also lean on Jalal Toufic’s concept of “the withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing disaster."
Walid Raad takes the visitor from a detailed case study of The Artist Pension Trust and its enmeshment with a network of neoliberal actors, to an account of the accelerated emergence of art spaces and institutions in the Arab world, and finally to inexplicable physical phenomena like the flattening of art spaces, the shrinking of artworks, and the availability of colors, lines, and forms for contemporary Arab artistic creation.
Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World expands upon the research-based methodology of Raad’s The Atlas Group (1989–2004), the visual and performative archival project he has initiated to document the social, political, psychological and aesthetic conditions of the Lebanese wars (1975–1990/91). The new project marks a critical juncture in Raad’s practice, at once a departure from The Atlas Group while expanding its historical and theoretical reference. The form of this project is an exhibition / performance. In other words, the project consists of an exhibition accompanied by a series of walk-throughs by the artist, or in his absence – his voice. TBA21 had the honor to show this performative exhibition in Vienna in 2011.
Walid Raad was born in Chbanieh, Lebanon, in 1967. He lives in Beirut and New York. Solo shows have included the Louvre, Paris (2012), Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2011), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010/11), Bildmuseet, Sweden (2011/11), Reina Sofia (2009). He has participated in documenta 11 (2002), Homeworks, Beirut (2005), La Biennale di Venezia (2003) and Whitney Biennial (2000 and 2002). In 2009 he was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and in 2012 he was awarded the Hasselblad Award. Walid Raad has been an Associate Professor of Art at The Cooper Union’s School of Art, New York, since 2002.
DURATION: June 9 - September 16, 2012
LOCATION: dOCUMENTA (13), Untere Karlsstraße 14, 34117 Kassel, Germany
Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World, 2010-2012
Mixed-media installation, including films, sculptures, prints and sound
Co-produced by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Wiener Festwochen, Vienna; Festival d’Automne à Paris; Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Les Halles, Brussels; HAU/Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin; Le CENTQUATRE, Paris and dOCUMENTA (13)
With the support of Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris, Ville de Paris, Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes, Paris