Curatorial Statement: Glenn Alteen on PuSh Artist-in-Residence Rabih Mrou
December 16, 2013
Since first seeing documentation of Rabih Mroué’s work in Beirut at Ashkal Alwan in 2007 I have followed his career with great interest. I watched videos of Looking for a Missing Employee and Three Posters, his collaboration with Elias Khoury, the Lebanese writer, and was very impressed with how he used found video and photographic documentation as the basis of his work. A year later, this time in Beirut for the conference HOMEWORKS 4, I was lucky enough to see How Nancy Wished That Everything Was an April Fool’s Joke and Yesterday’s Man. Again I was impressed by his ability to take on the very difficult Lebanese Civil War in his work. The works were about history, how it is portrayed and by who. I was excited by his use of theatre and performance art within the same work and how he uses documentary photographs and video to create fictions that speak to larger truths as they show us how media is manipulated and transfigured.
It has been a pleasure to be able to support bringing Rabih Mroué to Vancouver for the PuSh Festival again. I got to see Looking for a Missing Employee and the in-process lecture The Pixelated Revolution about the cellphone camera and the Syrian Civil War. Having him back next month for the exhibition Nothing to Lose at the grunt gallery and a performance of The Pixelated Revolution is a wonderful opportunity for Vancouver audiences to see some of the most exciting work currently being produced in the Middle East. Mroué’s work is full of questions about what is truth and propaganda, about memory and historical forgetting, about notions of private and public histories. His works are deconstructions of what we have been told and what we have seen, asking difficult questions that rarely have answers though often bring insights.
Glenn Alteen, Program Director
Studio T, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street
8:00PM (60 min, no intermission)
Post-Performance Talk: January 16
January 10–February 8
116-350 East 2 Avenue
Opening: January 10, 7:00PM
Workshop: January 11
Artist talk: January 18, 2:00PM