“I am like one who wore his brick to show the world how was his home.”
Often I was asked this question: how do I see myself as an artist? My answer has always been the same: I consider myself an immigrant worker. My job is to consider what it is to be an artist, when he feels different from in his own cultural context, even in his own role.
” From the exile, I created glasses to see”: I wrote this sentence in 1998. Since then, I ask myself the question of exile, or more precisely, it is the question of exile that always asks me. Since I voluntarily left Morocco, I have lived with the acute awareness of separation, displacement, and the weight of identity. So I started my approach of permanent displacement by affirming this in several personal artworks and exhibitions, such as “Art of War” (ADN Platform, Barcelona, 2014), “Permanent Exile” (MAMCO, Geneva, 2015) or more recently, as exhibition curator of “Art in exile” at Keitelman Gallery – Brussels, in which I sought to establish a dialogue between artists’ works dealing with exile of various regions, generations and artistic periods. Such as the works of Marcel Duchamp, Shirin Neshat, Josef Albers alongside with Ali Assaf, Marc Chagall, Geers and Lyonel Feininger.
With this necessity, this permanent need to think of exile, the project of the Exile Pavilion was born, as a traveling project, offering a parallel cartography, a free geography of temporary exhibitions, with stops in different countries. The project raises the question of the exile as a new space to be reinvented, to be rethought and finally to be invested. He wants to question both the global and specific links between various forms of displacement, whether the migrant worker’s situation, the expatriate, the refugee or the exile of war, natural disasters, economical problems, and political or racial persecutions.
The Exile Pavilion wants to invest and cross all boundaries, revisiting the experiences of the exile and reactivate the traces in history. Where does the exile begin and where does it end? Are we all equal against the displacement and exile? And from who are we exiles?
The Exile Pavilion does not exist as an architectural building even if the proposal is made for architects to imagine. But it is the works of artists, visual artists, musicians, poets, writers, performers they are exiles or their work deals with the displacement, which build together this protean and nomadic pavilion. Its journey will make layovers at artistic structures, institutions, ephemeral places, in the form of exhibitions, publications and meetings. At each stop, the works and archival materials are redesigned according to the place and its history.
mounir fatmi, June 30, 2016