For Untitled (Ghardaïa), artist Kadar Attia sculpted a scale model of the Algerian city of the title in couscous, a regional culinary staple. The fragile and ephemeral structure is accompanied by two prints portraying foundational Western modernist architects, Le Corbusier and Fernand Pouillon, and by a copy of a UNESCO certificate that officially designates the city of Ghardaïa as a World Heritage Site.
One of my favorite pieces from the Here and Elsewhere, group exhibit currently up at the New Museum of Contemporary Art is a mixed media installation called Qalandia 2087 by Palestinian artist Wafa Hourani.
Qalandia 2087 fills nearly an entire gallery at the museum and is lots of fun to explore while contemplating the political and sociological ramifications of the piece, especially considering what is going on in that part of the world at this very moment in time.
Built from cardboard boxes and archive photographs, Qalandia 2087(2009) is the third and last part of a series of installations by Wafa Hourani.
The artist reproduced, as an architectural model, one of main check-points and Palestinian refugee camps. Located in the north of Jerusalem, Qalandia constitutes, since 1949, Ramallah’s entrance and the exit point, dividing the country on its western bank.
Hourani was interested in this particular place in the Palestinian history, because of its proximity with its own airport, transformed into military base during the Israeli occupation. This paradox of a territory, initially connected to the rest of the world and now a place for Palestinian isolation, illustrates the politico-social reality of the country.
In Qalandia 2087, the artist proposes a futuristic vision of this place, a hundred years after the first Intifada. Contrary to the first two pieces in the series, which presented an apocalyptic vision of Qalandia – a hundred years after the exodus Palestinian for Qalandia 2047(2006) and a hundred years after the six day old war for Qalandia 2067 (2008), the last version evokes the future of Palestine on the basis of political Utopia.
The question of the occupation of a given territory is no longer relevant, the main concern is now integration. The wall, which originally divided space between the check-point and the refugee camp, has been replaced by a mirror facade.
Qalandia Airport has also retrieved its initial function as a civil airport, while the check-point has become a place reserved for public speech. Life seems to win again.
Racing cars, airline planes, whimsically shaped TV aerials, a coffee terrace and a swimming pool transform the refugee camp into a space where communication and social links become possible again. The new party, “The Mirror,” has just won the elections and is sending each Palestinian back to their history by inviting them to take part in the construction of a better future.
— Vérane Pina
Translated by Valérie Vivancos
Here and Elsewhere is on Exhibit Through September 28th, 2014, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, located at 235 Bowery (at Prince street) in Soho, NYC.
While I was at the LA County Museum of Art this past December to see the Stanley Kubrick retrospective, I also enjoyed the experience of stumbling upon Chris Burden’s room-sized kinetic sculpture, Metropolis II – the focal points of which are 1,100 Hot Wheels cars. Continue reading Chris Burden’s Metropolis II at LACMA→
Thinking back on the <Jello Model City of San Francisco, you can’t deny that gelatinous substances look fantastic when illuminated from within! This chandelier is made almost entirely out of strung together Gummy Bear candies and was created by artist YaYa Chou. Such gorgeousness!