In an exhibition and a number of walk-throughs, the internationally renowned artist Walid Raad proposes artworks and stories about Islamic art, World War I and the building of new infrastructures for the arts in the Arab world.
In late 2017, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will open to the public. This Louvre opening follows the opening of the Départment des Arts de l’Islam in the Paris Louvre in 2012, which also coincides with the opening of new wings for Islamic arts in various museums around the world (most notably in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; The Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha; and The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto). This renewed interest in Islamic arts further coincides with dramatic geo-political events in the past few decades, beginning with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 on to the ongoing wars in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. Moreover, it overlaps with the 100th anniversary of World War I, a war that saw the emergence of the Middle East as we know it today.
These issues are central to the work of Walid Raad, who was born in Beirut and is now based in New York. For the exhibition in the state rooms of Palais Attems he has conceived a series of installations and stage sets. During the first two weeks of the festival, the artist presents a number of walk-throughs. In these, he concentrates on the building of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, the shift from synthetic to natural dyes in the late 19th century, the writings of Jalal Toufic, and how culture and tradition are impacted, both materially and immaterially, by violence and war.
With Walid Raad (US/LB)
Produced by Celesta Rottiers (BE)
Technology Herman Sorgeloos (BE)
Commissioned by Buda & steirischer herbst
Co-produced by steirischer herbst, Buda Kortrijk, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Onassis Cultural Center
Project supporter Phileas – A Fund for Contemporary Art
Walid Raad (US/LB)
Walid Raad, born in Chbanieh/Lebanon in 1967, is a visual artist based in New York City where he works, among other things, as a teacher at the Cooper Union School of Art. Raad left his home country in the early 1980s and studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology as well as cultural and visual studies at the University of Rochester. In 1999 he founded the Atlas Group, a multimedia archive which examines the contemporary history of Lebanon from a non-traditionalist perspective and combines elements of photography, video art and installation art, the latter a characteristic feature of the multimedia artist’s practice. In addition to solo exhibitions at MoMA and the Louvre, Raad has participated, inter alia, in the Venice Bienniale and the documenta in Kassel, receiving the Camera Austria Award in 2005 and the Hasselblad Award in 2011.