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Steve Schapiro, Martin Luther King Jr. (with Flag), Selma March, 1965 © Steve Schapiro & Fahey/Klein Gallery
Steve Schapiro, Martin Luther King Jr. (with Flag), Selma March, 1965 © Steve Schapiro & Fahey/Klein Gallery

The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts presents its first exhibition of 2016 – a survey of work by the noted Moroccan contemporary artist Mounir Fatmi under the collective title “Darkening Process”.The exhibition runs concurrently with the Marrakech Bienniale 6.

“Darkening Process” is based on three projects about the idea of the Other; through literature,art history and scientific experiments.

The first project The Journey into Shame includes the bodies of work “The Darkening Process” and “As a Black Man” honoring John Howard Griffin, the white American writer and journalist, born in 1920, known for his fight against racial discrimination and best known for his book “Black like Me”. In 1959, he moved to  southern United States to undergo medical treatment combined with ultraviolet rays in order to blacken his skin — effectively transforming him into a “black” man. Griffin has gone through the ultimate experience of the Other to change his own skin to understand the life of a whole community.

The second project is The Blinding Light. For this project, Mounir Fatmi is inspired by the painting by Fra Angelico, ‘The Healing of Deacon Justinian’, which depicts Saint Damian and Saint Cosme, two brothers of Arab origins grafting a leg from an Ethopian man to Deacon Justinian. Fatmi overlays and manipulates the painting with photographs taken from an actual surgery room. He poses a question about science and religion; the uniqueness of identity, and the basic medical nature of the graft as altering identity.

The project Who is Joseph Anton ?, features British author Salman Rushdie, who used the pseudonym Joseph Anton, inspired by the two first names of his favorite writers — Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov — to continue to live and write. This is the starting point of a series which researches the hidden identity, the construction of the face, the alter-identity, and in this case, the identity of the fugitive — a concept broadly integrated into every day identities of  fugitive: from war, oppression, political, social and personal conflict.

Finally, the show includes Border Sickness and The Beautiful Language, two bodies of work respectively based on a performance by the artist himself, and on the movie The wild Child, by the french filmmaker François Truffaut. Both researches highlight the thin bordeline between ‘being born’ and ‘being’, the early anthropological ideas of the otherness that came with colonization, and the role of language in conveying identity as a label.

Darkening Process
Mounir Fatmi
From January 30th to May 30th, 2016
Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts MMP+
Palais Badiâ
Ksibet Nhas
Marrakech 40000

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Mounir Fatmi

Born 1970, Tangier, Morocco, lives and works between Paris and Tangier.

 mounir fatmi constructs visual spaces and linguistic games. His work deals with the desecration of religious objects, deconstruction and the end of dogmas and ...