The Sick Man of Europe: The Composer
January 12–April 1, 2017
Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem
2 Hapalmach Street
Hours: Monday–Wednesday 10am–3pm,
The Museum for Islamic Art is hosting Dor Guez's solo exhibition in Jerusalem. The project's title, The Sick Man of Europe, quotes a term coined in the 19th century to describe the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. Using this term, Guez examines the culture and history of some of the nation states that have emerged from the Ottoman debris. He appropriates this metaphor by reconstructing "the sick man" as a historic figure. Each section of the project recounts the story of an individual who embodies a subject fallen victim to military conditions.
The exhibition is centered on a film in which Guez presents the story of Hagop, an Armenian composer whose family was expelled from Kütahya during World War I. Guez accompanies Hagop on his first visit to sacred sites in contemporary Armenia. Along the way we hear an archival conversation between Komitas and Suni, two renowned early Armenian composers. The two compare composing to a journey, and point out a connection between the art of composition and Armenian topography. The exhibition also includes a series of photograms featuring ground plans of Armenian churches, ceramic objects from Kütahya that Guez traced and extracted from the museum's collection, and showcases containing prints reproduced from glass slides, documenting the Ottoman army during WWI, among them, a slide showing Enver Pasha, one of the principal perpetrators of the Armenian genocide.
Guez's perception of Armenian architecture, composing, photography, and ceramics as a negative print transforms the exhibition as a whole into an allegory for the story of the Armenian minority within the Ottoman Empire, a form within a form, a space within a space.
The exhibition at the Museum for Islamic Art presents the 3rd installation of a large-scope project, whose previous parts were shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (ICA); in collaboration with the Mosaic Rooms, Centre for Contemporary Arab Culture & Art, London; and Villa Stuck Museum, Munich (2015); as well as at the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (CCA); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (MOCAD); and Museum Untref, Buenos Aires (2016). The Composer is scheduled to travel to Kayu Gallery, Bali, Indonesia, and to DEPO Art and Culture Center, Istanbul (2017).
The exhibition is accompanied by a 215 color-page publication with texts by Achim Borchardt-Hume, Head of Exhibitions at Tate Modern, London; Chelsea Haines, New York-based curator; and Nazareth Karoyan, founder and director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Yerevan, Armenia. The publication is available from the Museum for Islamic Art.
Dor Guez was born into a Palestinian and Jewish family in Jerusalem, and now lives and works in Jaffa. His work has been displayed in over 30 solo exhibitions worldwide, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2016); the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2015); the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2015); the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Massachusetts (2013); Artpace, San Antonio (2013); the Mosaic Rooms, Centre for Contemporary Arab Culture & Art, London (2013); the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2010); and Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Israel (2009). He has participated in numerous important group exhibitions, including shows at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (2016); the North Coast Art Triennial, Denmark (2016); Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina (2015); the 17th, 18th, and 19th International Contemporary Art Festival Videobrasil, São Paulo (2011, 2013, 2015); the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014); Cleveland Institute of Art (2014); Triennale Museum, Milan (2014); Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun (2014); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2014); Maxxi Museum, Rome (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011); and the Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2010).
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The Sick Man of Europe: The Composer