From May 25 to July 1, 2017, Goodman Gallery will present Fragmented Memory by Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi.
In Fragmented Memory the multimedia artist takes these objects as a starting point for his work “to show how the few elements of culture I had in my childhood home have shaped my artistic research, my aesthetic choices and my entire career,” he says. Fatmi adds that “through these objects, I draw a direct relationship to language, to memory, and to history in this show, because, for me, these three elements depend on one another; without language, there is no memory and with no memory, there is no history.”
Fatmi calls himself a migrant worker as a result of his feeling that he is always making work from a foreign place. Navigating this uprooted position has given rise to enthralling recent work, such as Roots, a large triptych wall relief made from reels of painstakingly twisted cable wire. Through the labyrinthine arrangement of meandering roots, which reference patterns found in ancient Islamic artwork, the artist asks, “Just how deep can a person’s roots go?”
For this exhibition, Fatmi has sculpted three distinct statements from metal plates. In Coma Manifesto 01, 02 and 03, letters have fallen out and lie scattered on the floor as an expression of the disillusionment and disorientation brought on by the artist’s traversal between Christian Europe and the North African country it colonised, where Islam dominates.
Fragmented Memory also features new work grappling with the concept of a collective national memory, such as The Visible Side of the King, a photographic series which explores the weight of myths that we project onto history. The work looks at the year 1953, during Morocco’s colonisation by France and Spain, when Moroccans reported seeing the face of King Mohammed V on the moon. According to Fatmi, “The Moroccan people were under the influence of a collective hallucination. To reinforce the image of the king in exile and push citizens to revolt against the regime of France, Moroccan nationalists asked people to stare at photographs of the sultan that they had distributed and then to look up at the moon. There they saw his visage, not realising they were being tricked by an optical illusion. The subterfuge worked: Mohammed V, unaware of the ploy, received demonstrations of support in 1955, just before his return to Morocco and became known as the moon king.”
Mounir Fatmi was born 1970 in Tangier, Morocco, he lives and works between Paris and Morocco. He has exhibited severally across Europe as well as Turkey and Morocco, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Brooklyn Museum; Mori Art Museum in Tokyo; Moscow Museum of Modern Art; Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha; and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Fatmi’s work has been selected for the Setouchi Triennial and for Biennales in Sharjah, Dakar, Seville, Gwangju, Lyon, Venice and the State-in-Time Pavilion at the upcoming 57th Venice Biennale). He has received prizes, including the Grand Prize Leopold Sedar Senghor of the 7th Dakar Biennial in 2006; the Cairo Biennial Prize (2010); the Uriöt prize, Amsterdam. He has also published four books on his practice, including Ghosting (2011), Megalopolis (2011), Sans Histoire Paris (2012) and This is not blasphemy, Paris (2015).