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30 Mar 2012

Cornerhouse: Subversion exhibition and symposium

Larissa Sansour, A Space Exodus, 2009



Exhibition runs:
Sat 14 April - Tue 5 June
Fri 13 April, 18:00 - 21:00
Fri 13 April, 11:00 - 16:30


+44 (0)161 228 7621

70 Oxford Street
M1 5NH

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Cornerhouse is delighted to announce Subversion, a unique group show of new and recent contemporary art which explores and rethinks modern Arab identity. Eleven emerging and established artists use autobiographical narratives amalgamated with fiction, popular culture and subversive parody, to express the dichotomies they face as they perform multiple roles in a society which is frequently represented to the outside world in a contorted and mediated manner. Spanning an array of techniques including installation, video, photography and sculpture, the artists collectively illustrate fragments of the distorted imagination that often preoccupies the Arab world, uncovering the contrasts of existence in a disputed political region. But instead of conforming, they approach the various masks they are expected to wear with a sense of humour whilst referencing to the duplicitous performances of their everyday life.

Emerging Gaza artists and filmmakers Tarzan and Arab will present their award-winning 'Gazawood project' (2010). It will include a series of striking cinema poster pastiches of imaginary movies from different genres, and a short film 'Colourful Journey', which will be screened in a pop-up cinema in Gallery 3. In A Space Exodus (2009), Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour adapts a segment of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, providing it with new, Middle Eastern context by positing the idea of the first Palestinian in space. Subversion will also feature Sansour's 'Palestinauts' (2010) and three preliminary sketches for the 'Nation Estate' project, a sci-fi photo series conceived in the wake of the Palestinian bid for nationhood at the UN.


To accompany the exhibition there will be a focused symposium on Fri 13 April (11:00 – 16:30) which grants a rare opportunity to hear from global experts on the arts and culture of the Arabic world. Using Subversion as a starting point, guests and speakers are invited to consider parallels between politics, history and representation in both the mass media and within a dissenting visual culture. Through lively debate, performance, and a series of provocations, the event aims to consider art's inherent power to mould, subvert and provoke a cultural dialogue. The symposium will conclude with a performance lecture from artist Sherif el-Azma.