Fatmi criticizes the formation of supranational political and economic structures in the late 1990s and offers an ironic perspective of a megalopolis and urban architecture from an Arab point of view.
The concept of the megalopolis is being questioned in an ironic way in an exhibition recently opened by one of the young and successful figures of Middle Eastern contemporary art. Mounir Fatmi, a Moroccan artist living in Paris, is displaying his recent works in the exhibition “Megalopoller/Megalopolis,” on view at the Akbank Art Gallery in İstanbul’s Beyoğlu district until March 19.
Fatmi, whose works have been exhibited in many countries, including Switzerland, Germany, France and Japan, and who was awarded the Grand Prize of the 7th Dakar Biennial in 2006, criticizes the formation of supranational political and economic structures in the late 1990s and offers an ironic perspective of a megalopolis and urban architecture from an Arab point of view.
“Curator Ali Akay and Akbank invited me to stage an exhibit,” said Fatmi in an interview with Today’s Zaman. This is his first exhibition in İstanbul. “The films in the exhibition come out of the Ovalprojet, a project I did in Mantes-la-Jolie, a suburb of Paris, between 2001 and 2005, but which were recently completed, in January.”
“Broadly speaking, I would define a megalopolis in regards to the speed and rapidity of architectural development in cities without taking time to consider or reflect upon the wellbeing of the people who live in the city,” Fatmi says. “Cheap construction and a lack of green spaces or walkways for example.”
With the Arab world undergoing a huge process of transition today, one in which the world is witnessing an incogitable series of revolutions, Fatmi says an even better time awaits the flourishing Middle Eastern contemporary art scene in such an atmosphere. “Artists from the Arab world were not waiting for a change politically or economically in order create their work,” says Fatmi, noting that the process had started long ago. “Artists have been working regardless of their situation. They will now perhaps be looked to more to add to the dialogue of what is happening politically and so forth. I think the bigger change or transition is that there is now a greater platform for artists in the Arab world to exhibit their work in the Arab world — in Qatar or Dubai or Morocco, for example, not just in foreign countries, but now perhaps their own. That is the bigger change or transition for the artists themselves.”
For more on the artist go to www.mounirfatmi.com
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