Rabih Mroué. I, the Undersigned The People Are Demanding

WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION (Choice)

Rabih Mroué, On Three Posters. Reflections on a Video-performance by Rabih Mroué, 2004
Rabih Mroué, Old House, 2003
Rabih Mroué, On Three Posters. Reflections on a Video-performance by Rabih Mroué, 2004, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, On "Three Posters". Reflections on a Video-performance by Rabih Mroué, 2004
Rabih Mroué, Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, On "Three Posters". Reflections on a Video-performance by Rabih Mroué, 2004, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Noiseless, 2008, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Je Veux Voir, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Je Veux Voir, 2010
Rabih Mroué, Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Noiseless, 2008, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Je Veux Voir, 2010, Exhibition view, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010, Photo: Victor Nieuwenhuijs
Rabih Mroué, Je Veux Voir, 2010
Rabih Mroué, Model of "The Mediterranean Sea", 2011

Old House, 2003
Video, 1:15 min., loop
 
The video work Old House shows the demolition of a house in Lebanon in slow motion. The images in the video run forward and backward at different rhythms. Here the irreversibility of the destruction and the possibility of renewal are permanently conjoined.

On Three Posters: Reflections on a Video-performance by Rabih Mroué, 2004
Video, 17 min.

On
Three Posters: Reflections on a Video-performance by Rabih Mroué is a performance by the artist that has been transferred to video format—a kind of meta-narrative on the same. It is based on various test recordings of a video message made by one of the first suicide bombers in Lebanon—a worldly warrior who had fought against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon in 1985—shortly before his lethal act. Mroué’s interest lies in the mediatic construction of this public confession. The original performance was created in 2000 together with Elias Khoury.

With Soul, with Blood, 2006
Video, 11:00 Min

Noiseless, 2008
Installation (Text; Video, 04:30 Min.)

In Noiseless the artist inserts his own image into newspaper clippings of missing persons announcements, by which these notices regain personal gravity and are brought into another regime of visibility.

Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010
Installation (mixed media), produced by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht

The installation Grandfather, Father and Son associates events from Mroué’s family background with key historical moments in Lebanon. It comprises various documents pertaining to the artist, his father, and his grandfather, for instance cards from his grandfather’s library. Mroué’s grandfather, a theologian and communist, had written a book about the dialectics of Islam. In 1987, around the time the third volume of this work was being started, he was the victim of a bombing attack. This was the same year in which Prime Minister Rashid Karami was assassinated.
Included in the installation are manuscript pages on a never-published mathematical treatise written by Mroué’s father in 1982—the year in which Israeli soldiers marched into Lebanon and sparked the civil war. Mroué himself is represented by his first and last short story to date, which he published in 1989 toward the end of the conflict. In a video which was recorded in his grandfather’s library, the artist recites the story.

Je Veux Voir, 2010
Installation (photomontage, two videos, text, 5:13 min. and 00:30 min., loop), produced by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht
 
The installation Je Veux Voir (I Want to See) harks back to the eponymous film by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (2008) in which Mroué, together with Catherine Deneuve, plays the lead role. In this fictive film, which is in part based on a true story, Deneuve (played by Deneuve) inspects the aftermath of the Israeli attack on southern Lebanon in the year 2007. She is accompanied by Mroué (played by Mroué) who encounters his town of birth for the first time after the onslaught.
The installation is made up of a large panorama photo showing Mroué’s destroyed native village. Placed to the left and right of this photograph are two monitors. One presents a short sequence from the film in which Deneuve is calling Mroué’s name at this eerie location. The other monitor shows mysterious military numerical codes written along the walls of the destroyed village houses.

I, the Undersigned: I and We, 2011
Installation (text, two videos, 4:10 min. and 3:50 min.)

I, the Undersigned from 2007—which will be presented in Stuttgart in an erased way—involves a wall text and a video work presented on two monitors. The lower monitor shows Mroué’s unmoved face. Sounding from the off is a monotone voice reciting a sequence of apologies by the artist in Arabic language. The translation can be read on the upper monitor. Mroué is apologizing for personal conduct that he believes has (inadvertently) contributed to the continuation of the Lebanese Civil War.
I, the Undersigned: I and We from 2011 in contrast consists of the two monitors not showing the videos and a text explaning this gesture of erasure.

The People Are Demanding, 2011
Wall text

 “The people are demanding” are the first words of the main slogan being heard on the streets in the ongoing Arab Revolution, having started from the unambiguous “The people are demanding the fall of the regime” to different other versions, incorporating shifting sets of demands: “The people are demanding the resignation of the prime-minister,” “the people are demanding immediate elections,” “the people are demanding the hanging of the king,” et cetera. In his work, Mroué completes the main subject and verb of this slogan with a long series of one verb demands that range from the most radical ones to the most mundane and basic human actions and desires. This twist reveals the ambivalence that is to be found in the work—as well as in the alteration of the title of the exhibition—both acknowledging the extraordinary revival of a sense of popular unity and action but also commenting on the fragility of subjectivity under the pressure of the unleashed forces of history and on the dangers of the totalizing “people.”

Model of The Mediterranean Sea, 2011
Video installation
The work The Mediterranean Sea has been produced by Lunds Konsthall, Sweden

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Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart