'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...
There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
The Third Line is pleased to present Arrival, Farah Al Qasimi's third solo exhibition at the gallery. Using the language of horror cinema, Al Qasimi reveals a new body of work featuring jinn folklore across the UAE.
The show presents Al Qasimi's first feature-length film; a 40 minute horror-comedy titled Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire). In it, a fictional Reality TV network has produced a segment on Um Al Naar, a Ras Al Khaimah-based Jinn. Um Al Naar narrates the region's changes from its occupation by Portuguese and British naval forces to its current adoption of a national identity based around tolerance and a drive to generate culture. She pays close attention to these changes in their day-to-day iterations: the gendered pastimes of the country's youth, waning trust in traditional forms of spirituality and medicine, and the loss of history in an urgent bid for novelty.
The photographs in the exhibition are moments pulled from the world she describes. She follows a baker with an Instagram business making buttercream roses, dance parties in which the only participants are men, and moves throughout homes looking at indicators of bodies and their personal style. Um Al Naar laments the formalities and social constructs of modern-day life, longing for a more fluid, interconnected world in which there is ample space for the paranormal, the unseen, and the absurd.
The film is peppered with found footage of various moments of release: exorcisms gone wrong, ecstatic dancing, and effervescent first-person storytelling. But as we lose our sense of collective release, Um Al Naar asks: 'how do we attain bodily transcendence in a modern world?'
In many horror films, the antagonist we fear the most is invisible; not a spooky ghost or monster, but a figment of our collective unconscious manifested as immaterial danger. Many of Al Qasimi's photographs contain a looming sense of dread or entrapment, even as the world they depict is full of color and cheer. A woman takes photographs in an aviary filled with live birds, their movement curtailed by a drop ceiling with fluorescent lights. A figure is reflected in a picture frame, her ghost trapped within its confines. Um Al Naar provides a space where these fears can be confronted—and where specters can move freely in bodily release.
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