Bashir Makhoul & Aissa Deebi in Venice

Bashir Makhoul & Aissa Deebi in Venice

Palestinian Art Court – al Hoash

Left: Bashir Makhoul, Giardino Occupato (detail-in-situ), 2013. Corrugated cardboard, size variable. Right: Aissa Deebi,
The Trial, 2013. Two-channel video installation, 15 minutes.

May 27, 2013

Bashir Makhoul & Aissa Deebi
Otherwise Occupied
29 May–30 June 2013

Collateral Event of the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

Preview: 29 May, 10–20h; 31 May, 10–19h
Symposium and book launch event: 30 May, 13–19h
Opening: 1 June, 10h

Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia (LASV),
Palazzo Ca’ Giustinian Recanati 

Dorsoduro 1012,
30123 Venice
Exhibition will be closed on 30 May 19–20h, and 24 June 

Curators: Bruce Ferguson and Rawan Sharaf

Palestinian Art Court – al Hoash is pleased to announce the opening of Otherwise Occupied, an exhibition featuring two established Palestinian artists, Bashir Makhoul and Aissa Deebi, presenting artworks exploring the plurality of Palestinian positions. 

As Palestinian artists, their work is unavoidably occupied with political engagement. However, it is vital that the idea of Palestine is not defined by the occupation and this exhibition’s title indicates the artists’ commitment to other ways of imagining the nation outside and beyond the conflict. Makhoul and Deebi also maintain a deep interest in the aspects of play and performance within art as an alternative occupation that remains marginal, though vital, to the workaday world.

The artworks presented here by Makhoul and Deebi are artistically and critically questioning the Palestinian identity; thinking through the de-­territorialisation of Palestine and the issues of dispersal, plurality, and dispossession. Both artists, whether exploring contemporary colonial actions, turning them into a collective relation to space, enacting a dangerous ‘game,’ or digging into the archive and researching particular cases in history where the Palestinian identity was integrated within a global communist identity—seeking utopia, are enacting the performativity of thinking ‘otherwise.’

Bashir Makhoul
Giardino Occupato
Bashir Makhoul, a Palestinian, UK-based artist, with a body of work produced over 20 years of experience, will be occupying the garden of the Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia with thousands of cardboard box houses. Makhoul will be asking the audience to pick up a box and place it in the garden, in an ambiguous performance that is both playful and deadly serious situating the performer in a position playing the role of the occupier. This piece will emphasise the performative aspects of occupation—the act of getting there, of filling the space, of becoming (otherwise) occupied. 

Aissa Deebi
The Trial
The Trial is a work about the colonial present as much as the colonial past. A video installation that consists of two actors at a table, in a darkened room, alternately reciting a speech by Daoud Turki, a Palestinian-Arab citizen of Israel, delivered at the Haifa District Court in 1973, just before he was convicted of espionage for his activities as a leader of a Marxist cell. The speech is ironically revived to present an insight through this historical event on the transformations of the identity through its ideological affiliations.

Symposium and book launches
The Otherwise Occupied symposium will take place on Thursday, 30 May from 13h to 17h. The symposium will include presentations and discussions by critics including Lewis Biggs, John Beck, Ryan Bishop, and Jonathan Harris, along with the curators and artists of Otherwise Occupied: Bruce Ferguson, Rawan Sharaf, Aissa Deebi, and Bashir Makhoul, chaired by Salwa Mikdadi.

From 17h to 19h the symposium will be followed by a drinks reception and book launch for three new publications by Al Hoash: the exhibition book accompanying Otherwise Occupied (edited by Ryan Bishop and Gordon Hon); Palestinian Video Art: Constellation of the Moving Image (edited by Bashir Makhoul); and Bashir Makhoul (edited by August Jordan Davis and Jonathan Harris) 

Palestinian Art Court – al Hoash
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton
American University in Cairo
Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia
A.M.Qattan Foundation

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Palestinian Art Court – al Hoash
May 27, 2013

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