The exhibition We know what it is for, we who have used it emerges from the long-term research project And Yet My Mask is Powerful by Palestinian artists-duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, in which they follow young people on their trips to sites of destroyed Palestinian villages. Following the faint traces of the past, the artists develop a reversed museology as a strategy to breath new live into these places of trauma, the very site to cast a new projection that palpably evokes the potential of a suspended, unrealized or even a-historical time. We know what it is for, we who have used it confronts the apocalyptic imaginary and violence that dominates our contemporary moment, an apocalyptic vision that seems to clog up even the pores in our bodies. By sampling interrupted narratives, images, texts, sounds, artifacts, myths and rituals from different era’s, the artists draw the contours of a virtual time, not bound by the here and now: a counter-mythology as an alternative to the dominant, often colonial narratives with which we describe our present.
Abbas and Abou-Rahme documented and presented the trips to the destroyed villages using video and sound, 3D-printed artifacts, flowers and organic material sourced from the tours, handwritten notes of pertinent historical or personal information. Taking Adrienne Rich’s poem Diving into the Wreck – from which the project draws its title – as their script, the artists explore what happens to people, places, things and materials when a living fabric is destroyed. How in the face of such violence can we then begin to retrieve and reconstitute living matter from the wreck itself?
We know what it is for, we who have used it presents an immersive multi media installation, including a 5-channel video installation and a new sound piece. The exhibition will be followed by a publication in 2019.
Basel Abbas (CY, 1983) and Ruanne Abou-Rahme’s (VS, 1983) work has been featured in exhibitions at the Palestinian Museum, the ICA Philadelphia, Portikus, Kunsthalle Wien, the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, the ICA London, and the Sharjah, São Paulo, Istanbul, Gwangju, and Liverpool biennials. They were awarded the Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2016 and the Sharjah Biennial Prize in 2015. This exhibition is the first solo-presentation of the artists in the Netherlands.
Curated by Nathanja van Dijk
An extensive public program is curated by Karima Boudou, in collaboration with Nathanja van Dijk
We know what it is for, we who have used it is kindly supported by the City of Rotterdam and the VSB Fund.