25 November 2016 – 26 February 2017
IMMA is pleased to present the first survey exhibition of Palestinian artist Emily Jacir’s work in Ireland. Europa brings together almost two decades of sculpture, film, drawings, large-scale installations and photography with a focus on Jacir’s work in Europe, in particular Italy and the Mediterranean. The show’s title refers to the Italian and Arabic word for “Europe”. Renowned for work that is as poetic as it is political and biographical, Jacir investigates silenced historical narratives, translation, movement, resistance, transformation and exchange.
The first iteration of Europa took place at Whitechapel Gallery, London in late 2015. For IMMA, Jacir has included several new works, and has collaborated with IMMA’s Head of Exhibitions, Rachael Thomas to include seminal artworks such as the two channel video installation, Crossing Surda (a record of going to and from work) (2002), where Jacir was held at gunpoint by Israeli Occupation Forces when she was filming her feet on her daily commute. Another addition is a sketch in the Egyptian Museum April 24, 2003 Cairo (2003), where Jacir has documented a museum worker casually dusting off a stone bearing a five-thousand-year-old hieroglyphic inscription as visitors pass by unperturbed. Filmed in the days following the catastrophic loss of Iraq’s National Library and Museum it is at once a memorial to the cultural devastation of that April and an omen of the future.
Commenting on the work on exhibition at IMMA Emily Jacir states; “These works reflect the strong links between Palestine and Ireland and the shared history of British Colonial Rule. Though Ireland went on to attain its independence, Palestine with the Nakba, an event whose repercussions are even more harsh and devastating today, remains occupied. Additionally, those refugees who were forced to flee in 1948 are now fleeing for a second, third and sometimes fourth time due to the current events in the region.” Throughout the exhibition, according to curator Rachael Thomas, Emily Jacir “unveils to us intermittent leitmotifs of archiving, writing, video, film, interventions, photography and performance. All of which interweave time, both past and present and the challenges between conflict and exchange.”
In Europa, Jacir premiers newly commissioned projects at IMMA. These include her new site-specific project Notes for a Cannon (2016), which takes as its point of departure the Clock Tower that once stood at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. It was destroyed by the British in 1922, under the command of Ronald Storrs, the British Military Governor of the occupied city. The removal of this tower served to match the British imaginary of what the Holy City and the land of the bible should look like.
La mia Roma (omaggio ai sampietrini) (2016) is an ode to walking, to labour, and to what Jacir describes as one of the great architectural wonders of Rome – the sampietrini. Made of solid volcanic rock and each one individually hand cut, sampietrini are the stones with which Rome has been paved with for centuries. This work comes from Jacir’s walks throughout the city of Rome where she collects the sampietrini, takes them to her studio, documents them, and then puts them back where she found them. The resulting work is a record not only of the selciatori (pavers) hand-cutting each individual cobblestone but also a diary of Jacir’s walks. Since the 1960s, the sampietrini have also been used during Italian protests as they are easy to collect, and so they have become part of the history of class struggle in Italy.
Key works in the exhibition include embrace (2005) – a circular sculpture matching the diameter of the artist’s height and fabricated to look like a luggage conveyor system found in airports. It remains perfectly still and quiet in the corridor at IMMA, but when one comes close their presence activates the work and it starts to move. Jacir often refers to Mahmoud Darwish’s poem “Athens Airport” when discussing this work.
Also ex libris (2010 – 2012), a work that was originally commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13), commemorates the approximately thirty thousand books from Palestinian homes, libraries, and institutions that were looted by Israeli authorities in 1948. Six thousand of these books are kept and catalogued at the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem under the designation “A.P.” (Abandoned Property). Jacir photographed these books with her mobile phone during repeated visits to the library over the course of two years. ex libris not only addresses the looting and destruction of books but also raises questions regarding repatriation and restitution.
Two drawings from her series from Paris to Riyadh (drawings for my mother) (1998–2001) document the illegal sections of issues of ‘Vogue’ Magazine. These pieces are based on Jacir’s memories of travelling in and out of Saudi Arabia. On the airplane flying into Saudi Arabia, the artist’s mother would black out, using a marker, all the exposed parts of female bodies from the latest ‘Vogue’ magazine in order to bring them into the country. When living in Paris, Jacir collected old ‘Vogue’ magazines from the years they lived in Saudi Arabia and retraced her mother’s action. Extracting the “illegal” sections from each magazine, the work speaks about traversing the space in between two extreme forms of repressing woman; a space in which the image of women is commodified and a space in which the image of women is banned.
In conjunction with her exhibition at IMMA, Jacir is organising a two-week workshop for her students from the International Academy of Art in Ramallah in exchange with Irish students which will focus on the events and discourse surrounding the Easter Uprising of 1916 in Dublin.
Europa is presented as part of an exciting on-going initiative, New Art at IMMA, proudly supported by Matheson, which allows IMMA to continue to support artists’ vital work in a strand of programming that recognises and nurtures new and emerging talents, new thinking and new forms of exhibition-making.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue co-published with Prestel. The catalogue features original essays by Jean Fisher, Lorenzo Fusi, Omar Kholeif, Graziella Parati, and Nikos Papastergiadis, as well as an excerpt from Franco Cassanno’s “Southern Thought” chosen by the artist.
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Additional Notes for Editors
About the artist
Emily Jacir’s recent solo exhibitions include IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Dublin (2016 – 2017); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015); Darat il Funun, Amman (2014-2015); Beirut Art Center (2010); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009). Jacir’s works have been in important group exhibitions internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; dOCUMENTA (13) (2012); 5 consecutive Venice Biennales, 29th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2010); 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006); Sharjah Biennial 7 (2005); Whitney Biennial (2004); and the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003).
Jacir is the recipient of several awards, including a Golden Lion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); a Prince Claus Award (2007); the Hugo Boss Prize (2008); the Herb Alpert Award (2011); and the Rome Prize (2015).
In 2003, O.K. Books published belongings. a monograph on a selection of Jacir’s work. A second monograph was published by Verlag Fur Moderne Kunst Nurnberg (2008). Her book ex libris was published in 2012 by Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln. In 2015 The Khalid Shoman Foundation published A Star is as Far as the Eye Can See and as Near as My Eye is to Me the most extensive monograph to date on Jacir’s work in English and Arabic. The most recent publication on her work is Europa which accompanies the exhibitions at Whitechapel and IMMA. Earlier this year NERO, Roma published TRANSLATIO about Jacir’s permanent installation Via Crucis at the Chiesa di San Raffaele in Milano.
She has been actively involved in education in Palestine since 2000 including PIVF and Birzeit University. Over the past ten years she has been a full-time professor and active member of the vanguard International Academy of Art Palestine in Ramallah. She conceived of and co-curated the first Palestine International Video Festival in Ramallah in 2002. She also curated a selection of shorts; “Palestinian Revolution Cinema (1968 -1982)” which went on tour in 2007. Jacir is on the faculty of Bard MFA in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
Talks and Events
Artist Talk: Emily Jacir Europa
Thursday 24 November / 6-7pm / Lecture Room / FREE
Emily Jacir will discuss her powerful artistic development and motivations in making her work. Jacir has built a complex and compelling oeuvre through a diverse range of media and methodologies that include unearthing historic material, performative gestures and in-depth research. Through an inquiry into processes of translation, the archive, resistance and movement, Jacir’s highly influential work asks us to consider what it means to be a political artist. Book here
The Artist & The State / International Symposium
Saturday 26 November / 10.00am – 5.30pm / The Chapel / IMMA / €6
In response to the centenary of the Easter Rising 1916 and the evolution of society and social ideology over the past 100 years, IMMA, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and Create’s 2016 programmes reflected on the role artists and creativity plays in society and the identity of the nation state. This international symposium takes a timely look at the potential of contemporary arts practice to critically address the challenges now facing our ever-changing global society and systems of governance. Emily Jacir will give a keynote presentation as part of this symposium. Further information and booking.
Curator Lunchtime Talk Series
Friday 9 December / 1.15pm-2pm / Meeting Point / Main Reception/ FREE
Join Head of Exhibitions, Rachael Thomas, for an insightful walkthrough of Emily Jacir’s exhibition Europa. No booking required.
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