Exhibition

Jan 22, 2019Mar 20, 2019 · Galerie Tanit, Beyrouth

Adel Abidin

YA! | يا

Ya!

A SOLO EXHIBITION BY ADEL ABIDIN

GALERIE TANIT

Wiping history through political self acclaimed correctness, winking to an era of paradoxical idealization; questioning the devaluation of humans. 

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“We came to kill your Father” a haunting sentence in the ears of a girl as she is skinned off her home, values, thoughts. A sentence still resonating through another long gone century.  

Where is the father when the adoration of a god becomes merely the idealization of a costume; of a hypothetical history to which our only references are but the debris of a destroyed culture, memory.  

Ya ..., would we, Arab civilizations shout in adoration to the mystical ghostly figure. This ghost, its rubber gloves, playing with our memories, playing with facts, wiping history as the human becomes insignificantly negligible. 

Ya! a solo exhibition by Adel Abidin, following the global theme of the devalorization of values, humans, ideals, and religion, through the presentation of five artistic projects all delving into the same subject of political incorrectness. 

The show starts with Abidin’s most recent project investigating Iranian Shiite visual representation of the twelve Imams, as they are strikingly portrayed by the same model/mannequin. This project is composed of three parts, the first being metallic cut outs of symbolic accessories/elements that tell the stories of each Imam, each’s character and historical idealization, regardless of the Imams’ own facial representation. Those cut outs are accompanied by debris of destroyed walls and sites in Iraq, on which the actual posters had been glued as if they were marketing billboards or propaganda posters within the city.  

A four meters long neon light finds its place hanging in a corner, inviting the spectator to get closer and read: «We Came to Kill Your Father». This project, inspired by true events of the 1918 Finnish civil war, still questions today’s situation in the Arab world, the identity of the father and the constant search for idols and deities. 

One would move then to the second room in which the third part of the Imams’ study continues, spreading a large roll of white posters on which the only printed word is : Ya, in arabic typography. That same questioning finds itself explicitly enhanced by the white posters. Who is the Father? What has become of our sacred idols? What have we done to their values? 

But then again, how to address such questioning when history and facts are constantly manipulated? Abidin presents a clear statement regarding information engineering through his video, entitled: «History Wipes». The spectator is here given instructions to change, erase and choose the historical events he wishes to retain or dismiss from what can be recorded.  

This statement is in direct dialogue with the project Politically Correct. A typographical structure slowly degrading into twisted metallic debris. This project also raises the question of manipulation, the management of minds, collective behavior, and cultural appropriation. 

We have reached a point where the power of political correctness can attain total cultural, intellectual and political purification. Cleansing, a cinematic video installation accompanied by a rack of mudded clothes, put up for sale, visualizes the symbolic yet figurative act of ethnical decontamination.  

As the show buckles itself up with a ghostly icon, we ask ourselves again, Ya....