Annabel Daou
come back to the war
Exhibition: January 21 - March 3, 2012
Opening: January 21, 2012

Installation Views

Works

Press Release

Galerie Tanja Wagner is pleased to present come back to the war, the first solo exhibiton in Germany by Lebanese-American artist Annabel Daou.

 

In her work, Daou explores the intersections of language, culture and our present political reality. Working primarily on handmade paper, her writing and markings form conceptual maps that do not encompass geographical areas but create borders and spaces that escape topographical distinctions. Daou physically intervenes on and reconfigures the surfaces of her works by tearing up and repairing the paperscapes with gesso and tape. Daou’s writing functions as the link between the individual pieces, often using the form of English text transliterated phonetically into Arabic.

 

come back to the war: human beings appear driven to past events, to “come back” to places or situations that are often those of struggle. The title of the exhibition refers to the engagement with and attraction towards conflict, may it be a political conflict, a conflict between people and situations or even between the artist, viewer and the work itself. In pieces such as the lines are drawn (2011) and the fight is fixed (2011) the titles play between their literal meanings and the visual or conceptual possibilities opened by language. In no man’s land (2011), Daou explores the void between the written word and the act of writing, using a red quill to inscribe the surface of the paper while blowing the ink away at the same time.

 

from where to where (2010) is one of the central pieces of the exhibition. It is a project that was completed over a period of two months spent between New York and Beirut—Daou’s first trip back to Lebanon after leaving her home country. It is composed out of the English and Arabic responses of strangers encountered during the travel to whom the questions were posed Where are you now? Where are you coming from? and Where are you going to? The title of the piece from where to where is a literal translation of an Arabic expression that idiomatically translates as “how dare you?” This question frames the work as an inquiry into the sense in which identity is asserted, undermined, and/or reconstructed through the ongoing exchange between location and state of mind.

 

This work was exhibited as the U.S. entry for the 12th Annual Cairo Biennale, which opened two weeks before the outbreak of the January Revolution. It remained at the Palace of Arts in Cairo throughout the uprising. During wartime, hotels often serve as a locale for journalists and people in transit to “wait out” violent or disruptive activity, much as this work was made to do. Insofar as this work was about attesting to Daou’s own presence during a journey from her present home to her past one, it’s repeated refrain “I’m here, I’m here” unexpectedly came to echo the protestors of Tahrir Square, who were attesting, first and foremost, to their presence.

 

from where to where was honoured by the Cairo Biennale with the Biennale Award in 2011.

 

Artist talk with Annabel Daou and writer David Markus on Sunday, January 22 at 3 pm.

 

 

Annabel Daou was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, and moved to New York in 1999.

 

Her recent exhibitions include: 12th Cairo Biennale (representing the U.S.), On the Mark: Contemporary Works on Paper, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2010); Close Encounters 2, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York (2010); Political / Minimal, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin/Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi, Lodz, Poland (2008/2009); knot, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence; New York New Drawings 1946-2007, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain (2009); Democracy in America, The Park Avenue Armory, New York (2008).

Galerie Tanja Wagner zeigt come back to the war, die erste Einzelausstellung der libanesisch-amerikanischen Künstlerin Annabel Daou in Deutschland.

 

In ihrer Arbeit untersucht Daou den Schnittpunkt von Sprache, Kultur und unserer politischen Realität. Ihre Arbeiten entstehen hauptsächlich auf handgeschöpftem Papier, auf denen ihre Handschrift und Markierungen konzeptuelle Karten formen. Sie umfassen keine geographischen Gebiete sondern erschaffen Grenzen und Räume ohne topografische Unterschiede. Daou greift physisch in die Oberflächen ihrer Arbeit ein, indem sie das Papier zerreißt und es mit Gesso und Klebeband wieder repariert. Ihre Schrift ist das Bindeglied zwischen den einzelnen Papierstücken, oft phonetisch transliteriert vom Englischen ins Arabische.

 

come back to the war: Menschen scheinen immer wieder an bestimmte Orte oder Situationen des Kampfes zurück zu kehren. Der Titel der Ausstellung bezieht sich auf das Engagement mit und die Anziehung zum Konflikt sei es ein politischer Konflikt oder ein Konflikt zwischen Menschen und Situationen oder sogar der zwischen Künstler, Betrachter und dem Werk selbst. In Arbeiten wie the lines are drawn und the fight is fixed spielt der Titel mit der wörtlichen Bedeutung und den visuellen oder konzeptuellen Möglichkeiten, die sich durch Sprache eröffnen. In no man´s land erforscht Daou die Leere zwischen dem geschriebenen Wort und dem Akt des Schreibens. Mit einem roten Federkiel schreibt sie auf die Oberfläche des Papiers und bläßt gleichzeitig die Tinte wieder weg.

 

from where to where ist eines der zentralen Stücke der Ausstellung. Das Projekt entstand über einen Zeitraum von zwei Monaten, die Daou zwischen New York und Beirut verbrachte – ihre erste Reise zurück in den Libanon nach dem Verlassen ihrer Heimat. Die Arbeit setzt sich zusammen aus den englischen und arabischen Antworten von Fremden, denen die Künstlerin auf der Reise begegnete und denen sie folgende Fragen stellte: Where are you now? Where are you coming from? und Where are you going to? Der Titel des Stückes from where to where ist eine wörtliche Übersetzung eines arabischen Ausdruckes, der lautet Wie kannst du es wagen? Diese Frage ist zentral für diese Arbeit, die als Untersuchung verstanden werden kann, wie Identität behauptet, untergraben und/oder rekonstruiert wird – im ständigen Austausch zwischen Standort und Geistesverfassung.

 

from where to where wurde als amerikanischer Beitrag zur 12. Jährlichen Cairo Biennale gezeigt, zwei Wochen vor dem Ausbruch der Januar Revolution. Während des Aufstandes blieb die Arbeit im Palast der Künste in Kairo. In Kriegszeiten dienen Hotels oft als Unterschlupf für Journalisten und Menschen auf der Durchreise, um der gewalttätigen und unruhigen Zeit auszuharren, ebenso ist diese Arbeit im Transit entstanden. Sie bescheinigt Daous eigene Anwesenheit während sie von ihrer heutigen Heimat zu ihrer letzten reiste. Der Refrain I´m here, I´m here, der auf dem Papier zu lesen ist wird in unerwarteter Weise von der Stimme der Demonstranten auf dem Tahrir Platz wiedergespiegel, die in erster Linie um ihre eigene Anwesenheit kämpfen.

 

from where to where wurde auf der Kairo Biennale 2011 mit dem Biennale Award ausgezeichnet.

 

Ein Künstlergespräch mit Annabel Daou und Schriftsteller David Markus findet am Sonntag den 22. Januar um 15 Uhr statt.

 

 

Annabel Daou geboren und aufgewachsen in Beirut, Libanon, zog 1999 nach New York.

 

Zu ihrem letzten Ausstellungen zählen: 12. Kairo Biennale (Beitrag der U.S.), On the Mark: Contemporary Works on Paper, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2010); Close Encounters 2, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York (2010); Political/Minimal, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin / Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi, Lodz, Polen (2008/2009); knot, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence (2009); New York New Drawings 1946-2007 im Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain (2009); Democracy in America, The Park Avenue Armory, New York (2008).

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