35th Bienal de São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec 2023
Free Admission
35th Bienal de
São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec
Exhibition view of the work of Mounira Al-Solh during the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Mounira Al Solh

The ongoing wars in Lebanon and Syria in recent decades loom large over the work of Mounira Al Solh. In contact with migrants and displaced people she responds with a frantic conversational practice that reconnects all those individuals who have acquired a diasporic status away from their homeland. Through those encounters, a demotic language that bears the traces of biographical experiences emerges as raw material for the artist. So that the previously unified political body that might have represented the Arabic language breaks down into endless stories told by people scattered all over the world.

An undeclared pathology of exile exhales through every piece of this artist. Videos, patchworks, and performances stitch together fragments collected during the interviews and through her own nomadic experience. An emblematic example is Lackadaisical Sunset to Sunset (2022), a portable carpet that the artist dragged over time and in the different places she lived, gathering bits and remnants of a daily existence. Like in most of her works, the result is utterly therapeutic and insists on the pathological dimension and the condition of those representatives of a global citizenship marked by exclusion and precarious life. In series of patchworks like Sama’ / Ma’as (2014–-2017) she introduces a radical arbitrariness that makes words function as polysemic signs by unsettling fixed meanings. The works from this series emphasize the phonetic – and thus performative and iterative –, as if a precarious life were a life to be experienced throughout mutating and heterogeneous identities. The longing for the collective and a Feminist agency often redeems the dramatic consequences brought by wars and exiles.

carles guerra

Mounira Al Solh (Beirut, Lebanon, 1978. Lives between Beirut and Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is a visual artist who embraces different media, such as video, painting, drawing, text, embroidery, and performance. In recent year, Al Solh has had exhibitions at Museumsquartier Osnabrück (Germany), BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead, UK), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan), Jameel Arts Centre (Dubai, UAE), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha, Qatar), and The Art Institute Chicago (IL, USA). She has also participated in group exhibitions including the Sharjah Biennial 9 and 15 (UAE), Busan Biennale (South Korea); ROZENSTRAAT (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Musée National de Pablo Picasso–La Guerre et la Paix (Vallauris, France), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), Documenta 14 (Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece), 52nd and 56th Venice Biennale (Italy), New Museum Triennial (New York, USA), and 11th International Istanbul Biennial (Türkiye), among others.