Mounir Fatmi: A Savage Mind
Keitelman Gallery, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, Brussels, 12/09/2016 - 03/24/2017
At the end of the year, the Keitelman Gallery has the honor of opening the second solo exhibition of the artist mounir fatmi, whose international renown steadily continues to grow. The exhibition presents a body of work (sculptures, photographs, and drawings) that address several themes dear to the artist: Confrontation between cultures, unfortunately often taking place in the form of violence, the subject of language and knowledge, and even the relationship between said knowledge and so-called ignorance. The questions that are posed around these themes manifest into forms that embody all the ambiguities of the time. Some of the implicit queries whispered throughout the works are these: How does the meeting between the one who “can do” and one who “knows how to speak of what is done” play out? Or, what is the relationship between the people who make up society on a daily basis and those who govern it? In other words: what is the relationship between a craftsman (the who does) and a machine (an engineered product that synthesizes, and thus simplifies thought and expertise)? In this exhibition and in the work of fatmi in general, it is as if a comparison has already been made, but is never fully at rest between the duo consisting of the “savage” and the “scholar”.
The three-part work Racines (Roots) reveals a drawing made of antenna cables. The pattern seen is reminiscent of Arab-Islamic art that has developed throughout history in the field of abstraction as religion forbade the representation of the human figure. Nevertheless, this work is a tribute to the architect, the handyman, and to all the anonymous individuals that create the status quo.
Like all of fatmi's sculptural work, Racines is an aesthetic trap. The eye becomes desperately lost as it searches for a beginning, an end, a center, an exit... During this moment in history when the notions of identity and boundaries come more into focus and are reflected by extremes, the Racines sculpture functions as a projection screen. Visitors may project their fears and hopes, and may question their place in this world.
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