Mounir Fatmi, Sleep – Al Naim, 2005

17 April 2013

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The Famous Team had the pleasure to visit the Paradise Row Gallery in London for the first time today. The gallery is representing some of the finest artists of our time, like Douglas White, Tom Gidley, Kirk Palmer, Barry Reigate and Aura Satz.

One of our favourite artists was the Moroccan multimedia artist Mounir Fatmi. He is now based in Paris and exhibits internationally. He constructs visual spaces that aim to free the viewer from preconceptions about religion and politics. He makes installations, videos, drawings, paintings and sculptures that let us contemplate about our doubts, fears and desires.
Yesterday, the 17th of April, the exhibition History Is Not Mine opened at the Paradise Row Gallery, Fatmi’s first UK solo exhibition. The exhibition’s main subject is censorship, and also the meaning and its deformation by power. His work is driven by the desire to evade all forms of indoctrination.

One of the works that Famous was very impressed by was the video installation Sleep Al-Naim, that’s shown in this exhibition for the first time in the UK. A six-hour video installation that insidiously inhabits the form of Andy Warhol’s experimental film Sleep of poet John Giorno asleep, Sleep Al-Naim depicts Salman Rushdie (rendered in 3D digital animation) asleep. In the context of the threat to Rushdie’s life following the 1989 fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, Rushdie’s sleep becomes ambivalent, a purgatorial middle-point between life and death.
The work which took 7 years to make was the subject of intense controversy last year in France. In October 2012, Sleep-Al Daim was censored by the Institut du Monde Arabe after it was excluded from an exhibition on twenty five years of Arab creativity. Just days before in the same week another video-installation by Fatmi, Technologia, was also censored after festival organisers in Toulouse removed the work from public display following violence and riots and the city.

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