January 30, 2015 - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) - Past Disquiet
January 30, 2015

Past Disquiet

Jamil Shammout and Michel Najjar paint the banner for the International Art Exhibition for Palestine, Beirut Arab University, 1978. Courtesy Claude Lazar.

Past Disquiet: Narratives and Ghosts from ‘The International Art Exhibition For Palestine,’ 1978
20 February to 31 May 2015

Opening: 19 February

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Plaça dels Àngels, 1
08001 Barcelona


Past Disquiet is an archival and documentary exhibition that excavate the story of and around The International Art Exhibition for Palestine (Beirut, 1978). It proposes a speculative history of politically engaged artistic and museographic practices in the milieu of the international anti-imperialist solidarity movement of the 1970s.

The International Art Exhibition for Palestine was organised by the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) Plastic Arts Section of the Office of Unified Information. It was made possible because of the passionate commitment of a number of PLO representatives in several countries, as well as solidarity networks between artists and activists around the world who supported the Palestinian revolution. The exhibition presented the seed collection for a future “museum in solidarity with Palestine in exile,” destined to be itinerant and travel until it could return to a free Palestine, with approximately 200 works by 200 artists from 30 countries. During the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and siege of Beirut, the building where the collection was stored was shelled as well as the offices housing the Plastic Arts Section and Unified Information Office.

Past Disquiet weaves testimonies and recollections—narratives subjected to the trappings of memory—with documents found in private and institutional archives to incarnate a forgotten yet very recent history. The outcome of the research reveals a universe of networks between artists and activists, welded by solidarity and political affinities, as well as artist-run associations and collectives that produced interventions in public spaces, exhibitions, biennials and museums (conceived as itinerant exhibitions) incarnating the commitment to a political cause and superseding the art market to embody independent [sovereign] counter-cultural representations of ideals.
In recording memories of artists, critics and cultural organizers, Past Disquiet draws unsuspected cartographies across time and geography, where the stories of The International Resistance Museum for Salvador Allende, the Artists of the World Against ApartheidArt for the People of Nicaragua, the Salon de la Jeune Peinture, the International Brigades of Anti-Fascist Painters, the Japan Afro-Asian Latin American Artists Association and the 1974 and 1976 Arab Biennials intersect with The International Art Exhibition for Palestine.

Researchers/Curators: Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti
Exhibition advisor: Paul Beatriz Preciado
Research supported by: Rana Sadik and Samer Younis, The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, The A.M. Qattan Foundation and ZedGrant.

Seminar around the exhibition 
“Palestine at/without the Museum: Loss, Metaphor and Emancipation”
Friday 20 February, 5–9pm
Saturday 21 February, 5–7pm
With Fadi Bardawil, Catherine David, Alfredo Jaar, Kristine Khouri, Rasha Salti and Elias Sanbar
Venue: Meier Auditorium. Free for Friends of MACBA. 
Booking: from 2 February here.
In English with simultaneous translation

Experience MACBA
Zenith with Guy Nader and Maria Campos
Saturday 21 February, 7pm
Zenith is a poetic and choreographic event, a physical, auditory and visual exercise that explores the space as a score between sound and movement, between the visual and that which is perceived. 

Venue:MACBA Atrium.Free for assistants to the seminar “Palestine at/without the Museum” or Passi and Friends of MACBA cardholders. Booking not required. More information here.

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
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