In Terrain Vague | Persistent Images | حركات غير مكتملة works by Uriel Orlow and Céline Condorelli are in dialogue with each other in a multi-part installation. The exhibition explores blind spots, unexpected epilogues and disappearances in the history of twentieth century Egypt. A series of installations engage with the constitutive movements and stoppages affecting time and space: forced or arrested movements of people, the stopped flow of capital, political movements, removal of statues (and regimes) and migrating species.
Uriel Orlow’s The Short and the Long of It, retraces the forgotten story of fourteen international cargo ships stranded in the Suez canal for eight years as a result of the so-called six day war in 1967; a series of connected drawings focuses on the migration of maritime species through the canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. Céline Condorelli’s First movement deals with relationship between the Egyptian cotton industry and the people who were its primary owners, who left Egypt following Nasser’s revolution, when the industry was nationalized. A joint installation Unfinished Movements revisits the empty lot of the former cotton exchange in Alexandria, where Nasser once stood to announce the nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956. The works are considering the latency of meaning of these moments and places and their connections with different versions of liberation.
Uriel Orlow: “History is up for grabs – it doesn’t have to be related to as a truth that is neatly re-inserted into a historical chronology. Instead, the imaginary, evocative potential of a minor event, forgotten in the twilight of history, connects to a whole host of associative chains and appears extra-ordinary, almost mythical. The work itself is articulated through fragments, shards of research, reconstructions and hallucinations: images and text beyond the dichotomy of fact and fiction.”
Céline Condorelli: “We know that story-telling, misreading or errors can produce real historical events. And in some way, as an artist, I am implicated in forging documents, devising utopias, and constructing imaginary schemes about the future, and in this way I actively participate in the production of the real. The project is not so much a fictionalized version of real events, than a narrative, a construct, enabling a different understanding of history and the re-imagination of possible futures.”