© Joana Luz

Ahlam Shibli:
Dissonant Belonging

Les Forges, Level 1
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Unfolding personal narratives, Ahlam Shibli’s work explores ways in which history can be reconstructed through the photographic lens.

Embedding herself in the life of her subjects, Shibli examines conflicts informing a variety of private, political and social contexts. Her images register unrecognized perspectives on society by concentrating on particular communities, places and events. Bringing together key series of photographs from her entire career alongside the most recent work, Belonging (2022–23), created during her residency at LUMA Arles, the exhibition reveals the many layers composing the reality of the places Shibli has investigated.

In Belonging (2022–23) Ahlam Shibli uses photographic framing to dissect the “imagined community” know as Arles and exposes separate, juxtaposed, or overlapping communities formed through different kinds of allegiance. In contrast, her previous works are often organized around strong binary conflicts. Occupation (2016–17) is based on the destruction of Palestinian livelihoods in al-Khalil/Hebron and the occupied territories by the Israeli colonial regime and Zionist settlers. Ramallah Archive (2014) points to ways of reorganising collective and individual existence encountered in files and photographic negatives found in the Ramallah Municipality Archive and in the contemporary city. Dom Dziecka. The house starves when you are away (2008) investigates how children in Polish orphanages reconfigure their bodies to create communities of their own. Dependence (2007) explores the distribution of bodily strength between the old and the young. Market (2005) sheds light on the shadow economy set up by migrants in an industrial centre of Europe in Torino, Italy. Horse Race in Jericho (1997) marks the brief and happy moment when in the wake of the Oslo Accords (1993 and 1995) the traditional horse race was staged again, which the city of Jericho had been famous for before the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967.

Dependence was commissioned by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in 2007 for the exhibition Universal Archive.

Curated by Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, Director of Exhibitions and Programs ans Adam Szymczyk, Curator.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Les Rencontres d’Arles.

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"Arles (…) is physically divided, but also community divided." Victor & Simon
Darat al Funun–The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman, 2011

Ahlam Shibli

(Palestine, 1970)

Through a documentary aesthetic, Ahlam Shibli’s photographic work addresses the contradictory implications of the notion of home; it deals with the loss of home and the struggle against this loss, as well as the restrictions and limitations that the idea of home imposes on individuals and communities marked by repressive identity politics. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions internationally, among others, by Museo ICO, PHotoEspaña 2021, Madrid (2021); Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2019); Fotonoviembre, TEA, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (2019); IVAM, Valencià (2019, 2017); Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg (2018); Darat al Funun, Amman (2018, 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010); Remai Modern Museum, Saskatoon (2017); Documenta 14, Athens & Kassel (2017) & Documenta 12, Kassel (2007); SMAK, Gent (2017), Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, Modena (2017, 2015, 2013, 2010); Carré d’Art, Nîmes (2015); Zachęta, Warsaw (2014); MACBA, Barcelona (2013, 2008); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2013); Museu  Serralves, Porto (2103, 2010); Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid (2013); Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Warsaw (2013, 2010); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012); Tate Modern, London (2011); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008).


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