From L’Intrus REDUX Curated by Natasha Marie Llorens
Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany
June 15 – August 18 2019
Artists: Ayman Alazraq / Emanuel Svedin, Nadia Barkate, Mounir Gouri, Jumana Manna, Omar Mismar, Chelsea Knight / Shane Aslan Selzer, Mourad Krinah, Anna López Luna, Katharina Monka, Sondra Perry, Sreshta Rit Premnath, Lara Tabet
To picture the stranger, an intruder, a person seeking refuge or asylum presents a contradiction. As soon as it is possible to know by looking at a picture that someone is a stranger, their difference becomes categorical, a fact of their existence. To define someone in this way damages their humanity because it is based on that which they do not belong rather than that which they are.
“L’Intrus REDUX” takes Jean-Luc Nancy’s eponymous book (L’Intrus) as a point of departure. Nancy describes the one who is intruding as a transplanted heart. His body needs the stranger but it is also in danger of rejecting that stranger and, as a consequence, of dying. “L’Intrus REDUX” presents artists who lean in the direction Nancy indicates: rather than trying to simply picture the stranger, their work depicts a relation to the stranger as an intimate and vital interdependence.
In Those Who Wait, a commissioned work by SRESHTA RIT PREMNATH, the representation of structural violence is tacit, embedded in the ubiquitous nature of its materials. Those Who Wait is made with the recto and verso of a makeshift, corrugated plastic wall mounted with torn laser-jet prints. The prints document the view from the artist’s studio, which is of New York Bay. The Bay is book-ended by the Metropolitan Correctional Center on one side—which currently serves as a prison for those undergoing deportation proceedings in New York—and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on the other—the historical point of entry for immigrants to the US. Each location is therefore both a promise of justice and a site of structural violence against those deemed strangers by the US justice system. Behind the fence, two stacked frames built with metal scaffolding are draped with a number of figure-like sculptures, titled Slump, made with foam soaked in plaster. The scaffolding structure is based on bunk beds used to hold inmates in ICE detention centers. The installation renders the state of delay and stasis inflicted on bodies held in a spatio-temporal zone of exception, a space created to obscure the State’s struggle to resist alterity.