Eye Filmmuseum is temporarily closed

As a result of the measures to combat the coronavirus, Eye Filmmuseum is temporarily closed. Terrace Eye Bar Restaurant and Eye Shop are open.

Read more
Close
Ali Cherri, The Disquiet
Ali Cherri, The Disquiet

Exhibtion, films, talks & events

Trembling Landscapes

Between Reality and Fiction

exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Ali Cherri, The Disquiet (2013); © Studio Hans Wilschut

Eye presents a group exhibition that explores landscape with some of the Arab world’s most prominent artists who work with film and video.

Landscape is a charged notion in the Middle East.* On the one hand, representations of landscape engage with a heady mix of national and natural borders, tussles over resources and territory, and (colonial) history. On the other hand, it is a rich source of identity, tradition and imagination.

exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Waiting for the Barbarians (2013); © Studio Hans Wilschut

*The geographical term Middle East is not neutral, but Eurocentric and has its origin in colonialism.

The artists relate to landscape in various ways. They do not shy away from interrogating how beauty, folklore, ideology, colonialism and violence are ingrained in how landscape is understood, conceptualised, visualised and imagined.

exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Mohamad Hafeda, Sewing Borders (2017); © Studio Hans Wilschut

Watch the exhibition trailer:

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
campaign image Trembling Landscapes
exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Ruanne Abou Rahme & Basel Abbas, The Incidental Insurgents part 3 (2012 - 2015); © Studio Hans Wilschut
exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Wael Shawky, Al Arab al Madfuna II (2013); © Studio Hans Wilschut

In this exhibition, the participating artists challenge and reshape views of the region by drawing on a host of complex and entangled issues, ranging from geography and conflict to belonging. Including works by Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou Rahme, Heba Y. Amin, Jananne Al-Ani, Ali Cherri, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Mohamad Hafeda, Larissa Sansour, Hrair Sarkissian, and Wael Shawky.

What binds these artworks together is that they explore landscape as a versatile trope for telling stories about the past, present and future, whether rooted in reality or fiction.

exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Jananne Al-Ani, Shadow Sites I (2010); © Studio Hans Wilschut

Guest curator Nat Muller takes you on a virtual tour around the exhibition:

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Nat Muller's virtual tour of the Trembling Landscapes exhibition
exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Heba Y. Amin, The Pupil of the Mosquito’s Eye (2016); © Studio Hans Wilschut
exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Larissa Sansour, Nation Estate (2012); © Studio Hans Wilschut

Mohamad Hafeda

For Sewing Borders, Lebanese artist Mohamad Hafeda collaborated with people who have experience of being displaced, for example, because they had to flee their country. They set new boundaries on maps with sewing machines. In this way, countless unofficial, personal boundaries are made visible. In this interview, Hafeda explains what fascinates him so much about borders.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Mohamad Hafeda, Sewing Borders (2017); photo: Hans Wilschut
Mohamad Hafeda, Sewing Borders (2017); photo: Hans Wilschut

Larissa Sansour

What could peace between Israel and Palestine look like? Artist Larissa Sansour uses science fiction to comment on years of negotiations surrounding the conflict. In her film Nation Estate, we see a Palestinian state in the form of a gigantic, futuristic skyscraper. Sansour tells Eye about the background of the work. She also shows how her identity as a Palestinian woman influences her art.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Larissa Sansour, Nation Estate (2012); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Larissa Sansour, Nation Estate (2012); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut

Hrair Sarkissian

Hrair Sarkissian built a scale model of the apartment complex in Damascus where he grew up. The artist has since left Syria, but his parents still live in the same building, where they are threatened by war daily. In the film Homesick, you can see how Sarkissian destroyed the model. Did that act offer relief? He speaks to Eye about it.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Hrair Sarkissian, Homesick (2014); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Hrair Sarkissian, Homesick (2014); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut

Jananne Al-Ani

During the Gulf War, Iraq's landscape was portrayed on TV as little more than an empty desert. For artist Jananne Al-Ani, who grew up there, this one-sided representation was astonishing: it is one of the most fertile areas in the world and the landscape is full of traces of ancient civilizations. In her work Shadow Sites she shows what lies behind the apparent emptiness that Western media showed.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Jananne Al-Ani, Shadow Sites I (2010); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Jananne Al-Ani, Shadow Sites I (2010); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut

Heba Y. Amin

Artist Heba Y. Amin travelled from Nigeria to Europe for five months, along trade routes described as early as the eleventh century in the text “Kitab al-Masalik wal-Mamalik” (Book of Roads and Kingdoms). The routes are widely used today by migrants travelling from Africa to Europe. Amin recorded the journey using a theodolite, a tool used for land surveying. In this interview, she talks about the project, which takes a critical look at the way in which migrants are portrayed in the media.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Heba Y. Amin, The Pupil of the Mosquito’s Eye (2016); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Heba Y. Amin, The Pupil of the Mosquito’s Eye (2016); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut

Ali Cherri

Geological fault lines converge under Lebanon, the homeland of artist Ali Cherri. This can lead to severe earthquakes. In his film The Disquiet, the artist makes a connection between natural disasters and political unrest. After much of Beirut was destroyed by an explosion in August of 2020, the work took on an unexpected new meaning. The title of the exhibition - Trembling Landscapes, after another work by Cherri - was suddenly painfully topical.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Ali Cherri, The Disquiet (2013); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Ali Cherri, The Disquiet (2013); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut

Wael Shawky

The inhabitants of the Egyptian village of Al Araba Al Madfuna strongly believe in supernatural powers, which they use to find pharaoh gold and other treasures in the ground. Artist Wael Shawky visited the village and experienced miraculous things, such as children suddenly speaking in a different voice - just like in The Exorcist. His fascination with the place, where the spiritual and the terrestrial merge seamlessly, led to the film trilogy Al Araba Al Madfuna. The second part of this trilogy is part of the exhibition.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Wael Shawky, Al Arab al Madfuna II (2013); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Wael Shawky, Al Arab al Madfuna II (2013); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

In their short film Waiting for the Barbarians, artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige combine panoramic shots of Beirut with a poem by C.P. Cavafy. The poem poses that a common enemy can serve as a solution to social unrest. But what if the barbarians don't come? Hadjithomas and Joreige created the work in 2013, in response to xenophobia and emerging nationalism. It hasn't lost any of its urgency since.

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Waiting for the Barbarians (2013); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut
Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Waiting for the Barbarians (2013); photo: Studio Hans Wilschut

Take a virtual tour through the exhibition:

You have to accept cookies to be able to watch this.
exhibition interior Trembling Landscapes (© Studio Hans Wilschut)
Hrair Sarkissian, Homesick (2014); © Studio Hans Wilschut

credits

The exhibition is curated by guestcurator Nat Muller in collaboration with Jaap Guldemond and Marente Bloemheuvel.

The exhibition title is borrowed from Lebanese artist Ali Cherri’s series of lithographic prints Trembling Landscapes (2014-2016).

Director of exhibitions / Curator

Jaap Guldemond

Associate curator

Marente Bloemheuvel

Project managers

Claartje Opdam, Elise Breukers

Graphic design

Joseph Plateau, Amsterdam

Technical production

Rembrandt Boswijk, Indyvideo, Utrecht; Martijn Bor

Audiovisual equipment

BeamSystems, Amsterdam; Eidotech, Berlin; Indyvideo, Utrecht; Vidi-Square, Pulle (B)

Installation

Syb Sybesma, Amsterdam

Light

Studio Warmerdam, Amsterdam

This exhibition was made possible by:

Looking for previous exhibitions?

Browse the archive via the link.

Read more

Support Eye. Join the Eye Society.