Ahlam Shibli. Foyer Fantôme
Ahlam Shibli. Foyer Fantôme
Past: May 28 → September 1, 2013
The work of Ahlam Shibli (born in 1970 in Palestine) falls within the continuity of projects at the Jeu de Paume that propose new narrative forms in the field of documentary photography, as witnessed by the exhibitions devoted to Sophie Ristelhueber, Bruno Serralongue and Santu Mofokeng.
For her new exhibition in Paris, Ahlam Shibli presents a selection of her works since 2001. Her images are anchored in current events, not through the urgency of a witness account but in the need to reestablish a critical distance through the profound transformation brought by a subjective regard.
Ahlam Shibli’s work is composed of interrupted narratives, of fragments and ellipses, which obstruct the spectactor’s view and force him or her to renogotiate the relationship between the image and its reference, in other terms between aesthetics and politics.
The precision and the control of the spatial arrangement of her images, and the explanatory texts that the artist writes herself to accompany each series, sometimes each image, take into account the tension between “representation of the political and the politics of representation”, as T. J. Demos has written about her work.
The exhibition comprises photographs taken in Europe and the Middle East. For example, in Eastern LGBT (2004–2006), an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, adopted by homosexual support groups, Ahlam Shibli works with people of Middle Eastern, Asian or Muslim origins who have had to leave their family or country because of the impossibility of living as they wished. In a foreign country, and sometimes only in nightclubs at weekends, they have found the conditions that allow them to be who they want to be.
Trackers (2005) shows Palestinians of Bedouin descent who have served or still serve as volunteers in the Israeli army. This work is a research into the price a colonized minority is obliged to pay to a majority of colonizers to be accepted or to survive, or perhaps both at once. As the artist explains:
“The trackers are paid in cash, and three years after leaving the army, they are allowed to buy land from the Israeli State at a 75% discount. The lands that they buy are confiscated lands by the State of Israel from the people of their villages.”
Dom Dziecka. The House Starves When You Are Away (2008) is a photographic series taken in eleven Polish orphanages (dom dziecka in Polish), revealing the living conditions of children who grow up not in a family but in a care institution where normal family relationships have been both replaced and deplaced to create a specific new social body.
Trauma (2008–2009) is a reflection on the Politics of the term “Home”. Taking as a starting point the events of 7th to 9th June 1944 in Tulle (Corrèze, France), the work is built around the fact that a single and same population — sometimes even the same people, who resisted occupation by the Germans and suffered from their atrocities, waged a few years later colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria against peoples who in their turn claimed independence.
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