This exhibition is a collaboration/exchange between Tate Modern, London, and Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman, initiated by Sheena Wagstaff (Chief Curator, Tate Modern) and Suha Shoman (Founder, Darat al Funun).
The four artists in Out of Place explore the relationship between dominant political forces and personal and collective histories by looking at urban space, architectural structures and the condition of displacement.
Hrair Sarkissian's In Between (2007) is a series of large-scale photographs of austere Soviet-style buildings left abandoned in the dramatic hills and valleys of rural Armenia. They register the paradox experienced by the Syrian artist of Armenian origin 'returning' to a land that had previously only existed for him in family stories, bleak reality replacing the imagined country.
In The Valley (2007-8), Ahlam Shibli explores conditions in the village Arab al-Shibli, where Palestinians living under Israeli jurisdiction face relocation from their land. In Goter (2002-3), Shibli looks at the lives of Palestinians of Bedouin descent from al-Naqab (Negev).
In the 1970s, Ion Grigorescu began recording everyday scenes in his home city of Bucharest with an 8mm cine-camera. In his films and photographs he focuses on the unregimented activities taking place amid the rapidly changing urban landscape. His images of children playing and of haphazardly discarded objects undermine the regulating social force of Romanian communism represented by the massive uniformity of the architecture.
Cevdet Erek's Shading Monument for the Artist 2009 reflects more generally on the possibilities of political art. The shadow-sculpture casts text on the gallery walls with varying intensity throughout the day, the words taken from memorials to the International Brigades of volunteers who travelled from around the world to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Appropriating these words for his artist's monument, Erek blurs the status of political activism and artistic action.
With a range of different techniques and approaches, the artists in Out of Place interpret signs of the interplay between politics, communities and individuals.
Presented at the Level 2 Gallery, this exhibition is conceived and led by Tate Modern's Assistant Curators, in dialogue with Tanya Barson, Curator. The Level 2 Gallery programme at the Tate has been made possible with the generous support of Catherine Petitgas. Presented at both venues, this exhibition is supported by the World Collections Programme with additional support from the Romanian Cultural Institute at Tate. Out of Place is curated by Kasia Redzisz and Ala' Younis.