Artist and Curator
Durational drawing & sound performance at The Other House exhibition, 5-27 May 2018, The BMECP Centre, 10a fleet street, BN1 4ZE Brighton, UK. Curated by Gil Mualem Doron and was co-curated by SEAS - Socially Engaged Art Salon, Counterpoints Arts, Dijana Rakovic and Toufik Douib.
In May 2018, I was invited by artist and curator Gil Mualem Doron to take part in a group exhibition titled “The Other House”
In the text that accompanies this show, Gil Mualem Doron writes:
A museum becomes a women’s jail in Tehran, a holy-house consumed by fire in Jerusalem, a homeless shelter constructed from real estate signs in Brighton, a house peppered with bullet holes in a place you may not have even heard of, a powerhouse that threatens your children, a housewife who rebels just next to you... The Other House exhibition depicts home as a difficult, strange, missed, threatening or dangerous place. Using photography, painting, collage, performance and installation, the international group of twenty artists shed a harsh and revealing light on what is meant to be a sanctuary and the most comfortable place - home - and expose its precarious foundations. The ‘houses’ in the exhibition are haunted by political, social, economic, gender and environmental issues that demolish any fantasy of a ‘house’ as a safe and comforting place. They show the ‘house’ as an ‘other’ space and as a system of processes in which people find themselves as strangers in their own home.
This unique group exhibition joined together artists from all over the world; some of them had never had the chance to be shown side by side due to the political situation of where they originally came from. I was especially excited to show my work for the first time together with other colleague artists from Iran, Syrian, Palestine, Algeria, Zimbabwe, India and more.
This alternative window for dealing with the notion of belonging and the state of immigration encouraged me to try and think differently about how to present my art. The option of collaborating with other international artists within the frame of a group show that talk about belonging encouraged me to try and search for new ways to create, talk, and share my work publicly.
My idea was not to display work that was done in the past but to try and see if I was really able to create new work live, in real time, while I am staying at and am present in the space of the exhibition. I wished to create, on site, a new body of work, and display it for the duration of the exhibition. I played with this idea of creating new work on site and leaving live traces for a long time but had never actually had the chance to test it live in an exhibition. I tried to turn the gallery space into a studio/home space as in a way my studio is in my house. Doing live drawing performance allowed people to see the development of the work and follow the sound of my drawing, as I attached the paper to a microphone and a speaker. These embossed marks that I created on the paper were executed with surgical tweezers. The sound of the drawing as I was working with the tweezers resembled, in a way, the sound of a heartbeat or a shotgun. The images I created there transitioned from more figurative and specific ones, like distorted shapes of a house to more abstract, ambient and emotional images.
The drawing technique that I developed with these tweezers came out from playing with the tools of my wife; she is a vet, and these tools are scattered all around in our house.
This extended boundaries between what is placed in the leaving space and what belongs to a work environment also inspired the idea of taking and mixing what is happening in my studio/ house with what I create and present in the gallery space.
The need to connect the paper to a microphone and an amplifier came from my past performance practice experience and my need to extend the possible methods of combining drawing and communication. I wanted the audience to be intrigued and curious by the amplified sound of the drawing, even before they entered the gallery space and saw me drawing live. I wanted the ambiguous drawing sound to intrigue my audience, drawing them into the space.Before I left my country, the notion of a stable and safe home and living environment was put to question a few times for my family and me, as the situation in the Middle East was very complicated and unstable for all sides of the continuing unsolved conflict. I especially remember the traumatic sounds of exploding suicide bombers in the streets of Tel Aviv in 2002. It was an extremely stressful period and a daily routine such as sitting and having a drink in a coffee shop was very challenging and unsafe, as there were bombers active all across the city. I still remember those horrible sounds of explosion; the hunting and terrifying visions; the helpless feeling.
When I left Israel in 2005 with my family to study in Canada, it was truly shocking to realise in what a difficult, stressful, and challenging situation (both mentally & physically) we had been living in the Middle East. For most of all, Canada felt like a healing place for me. Moving to the UK in 2011 gave me the opportunity to work in a very central and artistic environment, but it was also an attempt to get closer to our home, our family and ageing parents. Here we were able to visit them more often and consider the possibility of moving back at some point, but the unstable political activities and the ongoing unsolved conflict in the Middle East still put this option in question.
As it has been so long since I left my ‘home’ - my place, my country, and my culture I begin to question the notion of what Home is really stands for, to me. It felt just right to declare that at present, for me, ‘Home is where the Art is’. I have come to a stage where I comfortably carry with me my past and memory, my background and childhood, my struggles and frustrations, my successes and achievements, everywhere I go. So why not show it and share it live? Why not declare that everywhere I go is actually where my home stands, and that everything I do is now art?
I always ask questions regarding the situation I am in at a certain moment and feel the need to act in my own way about it. The idea to sharing my action live in an exhibition that talks about Other and House came from my current situation as confused immigrant, and from the need to try and say at the moment, “look at me now I am here in a safe and welcoming place, maybe looking calm and confident, but still carrying uncertainty regarding to this subject of belonging. I am trying to draw with peaceful white colour but it still leaves an intense visible marks. I try to draw as gently as I can but in the repetitive sounds I create lay obscure traces of restlessness and aggression. This situation was and will always be part of me as it root within myself, within my personal and collective memory. So actually, no matter what happen, there are always remnants from the past, coming and showing in everything that happens at present. Really there is no need to cover up any memories or confutations but only to be able generously to share them and be open as much a possible, like a wide inviting door.