When: April 1 – May 3, 2014
Opening: April 1 with a performance by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Contra-Diction: speech against itself
Where: Beirut Art Center, Jisr El Wati, Off Corniche an Nahr. Building 13, Beirut, Lebanon

Participating Artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Marwa Arsanios, Sven Augustijnen, Kianoush Ayari, Céline Condorelli, DAAR, Goran Dević, Simone Fattal, Karpo Godina, Iconoclasistas, Iman Issa, Sanja Iveković, Maryam Jafri, Rajkamal Kahlon, Anton Kannemeyer, Kayfa ta & Haytham El-Wardany, Runo Lagomarsino, Victoria Lomasko, Maha Maamoun, Jumana Manna, Azzedine Meddour, Eduardo Molinari, Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch, Tom Nicholson, Marta Popivoda, Milica Tomić, Mona Vǎtǎmanu and Florin Tudor, Cecilia Vicuña, Želimir Žilnik
Curators:
What, How and for Whom/WHW
Organisers: Young Arab Theatre Fund/YATF

Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks opens in Beirut as part of the seventh edition of Meeting Points, a multidisciplinary contemporary arts festival focusing on contextualized presentation of art from the Arab World.(1) A series of exhibitions held successively in Zagreb, Antwerp, Cairo, Hong Kong, Beirut, Vienna and Moscow between September 2013 and June 2014 forms a drifting, digressive narrative, each part complementing and possibly contradicting the others at times. While mindful of the political reality of the Middle East, the exhibitions abstain from hasty reflections on current social and political transformations, as well as from regional representations of the Arab world; instead, they attempt to offer a new reading of internationalism, one that involves an awareness of the mutual conditioning of social battles in different parts of the world.

Conceived as an exhibition in time, Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks resurfaces anew in each installment, realigning topics with particular locations and their specific geopolitical and historical contexts. In Beirut, the exhibition aims to establish a string of loose links and parallels among the works exhibited, while giving prominence to the Middle East, former Eastern Europe and Latin America. It thus draws together several threads which highlight the fracture between the representation and interpretation of historical and current trends. Artists in the exhibition hold images accountable, exposing the manipulation and mendacity present in the mass media and in the way in which stereotypes are continuously re-inserted into public discourse; they also attempt to map the ways in which one gets entangled in the somber and persisting legacy of colonialism and how one breaks away from its reach. The prospects of political struggles are explored by referring back to historical narratives, looking into the current stifling of political dissent, and tracking the tensions between revolutions and counterrevolutions. The fading and dissolution of ideals, as well as the survival of their persistent, seductive promise, are addressed by exploring the cracks in the modernist project, the contradictions and possibilities of the role played by middle classes at various historical junctures, as well as the tensions between the ‘everyday life’ of an individual and turbulent historical circumstances. The exhibition strives to enable a dialogue of equals. It also inquires into the power of images to cut through inertia and apathy, and considers ways in which the promise of radical social reconfigurations is still being acted upon in the present or whether it is foreclosed in any foreseeable future.

Meeting Points 7 is curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW, a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb and Berlin. WHW organizes production, exhibition and publishing projects and directs Gallery Nova in Zagreb. WHW is currently working on a long-term collaboration project, Beginning as well as we can (How do we talk about fascism?), and curating the exhibition Really Useful Knowledge, to open at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid in October.

1) The title of the project, Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks, is a quote from Wretched of the Earth (1961), the book revolutionary philosopher Frantz Fanon wrote as a reflection on the Algerian revolution and whose title derives from the opening lyrics of the “Internationale,” the song of the world workers’ movement.

The project is supported by Ford Foundation, Flemish Authorities, Allianz Kulturstiftung, Australia Council for the Arts, FfAI, and OCA.