Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou Rahme (*1983 in Nicosia,*1983 in Boston, live and work in New York and Ramallah) work at the interface of culture and politics and produce artworks that reflect the body, landscape, ritual, heritage and violence of today's world. Her practice explores a contemporary society that is increasingly characterized by a politics of desire and catastrophe. The artists have developed a work that looks for ways in which a completely different, new imaginary can emerge. In their projects they dig, activate and invent random narratives, figures, gestures and places as material for new ideas of the present.
For their exhibition And Yet My Mask is Powerful at the Kunstverein in Hamburg, Abbas & Abou-Rahme collected material from a wealth of sources, including many pictures, texts and testimonies from Palestine, examining destroyed villages in occupied Palestine and documenting groups of Palestinian youths with copies of Neolithic masks. The project has its title from Adrienne Rich's poem Diving Into the Wreck, and like the poem, its staging is a field of ruins. The masks, some of the oldest in the world, were originally found in the West Bank and are now kept in private Israeli collections; they were copied by the artists from online photographs and printed in 3D. The editions they created for the Kunstverein use computer screenshots of images framed in software windows that they layer along with scans and typographic interventions. The work suggests a sense of collapse and return, but one that is future-oriented and transforms the apocalyptic imaginary of the Arab world into another, parallel, yet unrealized time.
- And yet my Mask is Powerful, Kunstverein in Hamburg (S)
Divided We Stand, Busan Biennale 2018, Busan (G)
- And yet my Mask is Powerful, Art Jameel Project Space, Dubai (S)
- Only the beloved keeps our secrets, The Gallery at Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle (S)
Syntax and Society, Abraaj Group, Dubai (Recipients of the Abraaj Group Prize) (G)
- The Incidental Insurgents, Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo (G)
- The Incidental Insurgents, Part II: Unforgiving Years, Akademie der Künste der Welt, Köln (G)
10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (G)