Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to present Mounir Fatmi’s second exhibition at the gallery. Fatmi, currently lives and works between Paris and Tangier.
“Kissing Circles,” proposes an encounter between two classic Hollywood films: “Modern Times” by Charlie Chaplin and “Casablanca,” by Curtiz. The circle serves as the link between this ensemble of recent work presented in the gallery. Mounir Fatmi has been working for several years with this universal shape, which is explored through a wide range of fields, including visual art- from Duchamp and his rotoreliefs, to another modernist artist, Sonia Delaunay. The circle is also found in religious symbolism, with one strong example being the pilgrims who walk around the Ka'ba, in Mecca, the most sacred structure in Islamic architecture. More concerned with philosophy than mathematics, the artist is inspired by Descartes geometric theorem, which establishes a relationship between “kissing” or mutually tangent circles. A response to this relationship is found in a poem titled, “The Kissing Precise” by Frederick Soddy, and Mounir Fatmi interprets this response in a series of bas-relief sculptures made with coaxial antenna cables, called “Kissing Circles.”
In the main gallery a large-scale video projection of a machine dominates the gallery walls. The title of the piece, “Modern Times: A History of the Machine” is inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s celebrated 1936 film, which comments obliquely on the alienation of man in a modern industrialized society, with Chaplin portraying a lowly worker on a factory production line. In Fatmi’s projection, circular verses from the Qur’an form the cogs in a wheel. The dizzying effect of the installation draws on the legacy of Duchamp’s spinning circular optical illusions known as “Rotoreliefs,” which were among the first examples of kinetic art.
Opposite the projection is a series of five drawings on photographs, which feature the imagery of the final kiss from the film “Casablanca.” The tangent circles of Descartes and Soddy are drawn on the photographs of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as they are drawing closer together for a final kiss. The Moroccan city of Casablanca is forever remembered as the city from the film- reality and fiction are intertwined in its landscape.
Mounir Fatmi constructs visual spaces and linguistic games that aim to free the viewer from their preconceptions. His work deals in the desecration of the religious object, and the deconstruction and end of dogma and ideologies. He is particularly interested in the idea of an end to over-consumption, which can be applied to his use of antenna cables, copier machines, and VHS tapes. This can be applied as well to a dead language or political movement.
Fatmi has shown extensively both internationally and in America. Recent exhibitions include; 54th Venice Biennale, Venice; Dublin Contemporary 2011, Dublin; Cairo Biennial, Cairo; Migros Museum für Gegenwarskunst, Zürich, Switzerland, the Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo Japan.
His work is collected by international institutions including the Kunstpalast Museum, Düsseldorf; The AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la Création, Paris; Fondazione Casa di Rispiarmo, Modena.
He was awarded by several prize such as the Grand Prize at the 7th Dakar Biennial in 2006 and the Uriöt prize, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. He received the Cairo Biennial Prize in 2010.
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