Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rehab Nazzal at the Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa

In each work in the exhibition Invisible, at the Karsh-Masson Gallery from 9 May to 22 June 2014, the artist Rehab Nazzal employs a formal device that actually obstructs the full expression of the content presented. For example, the 2010 video Bil'in combines the sound of a crowd getting tear gassed with out-of-focus images and abstract flashes of colour, as if the camera too were blinded by tear gas. At the heart of the exhibition are works that utilize found footage of a military exercise at a prison in Israel resulting in the injury and death of Palestinian political prisoners. Frames from the Negev Prison is an installation of 1,700 4"x 6" digital prints that runs the length of one gallery wall. The individual prints make up a mosaic that represents a highly pixelated image, with completely black "tiles" indicating footage that was suppressed by the authorities, and others offering only limited views of the events.

Rehab Nazzal, Frames from the Negev Prison, 2013, 1700 digital photographs on paper (detail)

In an artist's talk on June 1, Nazzal said her work formalizes the process of making visible that which has been suppressed. The works remain incomplete in order to betray the force of suppression. Above all, the works invite the viewer to look further into what is only being partially presented. Most certainly, Nazzal's exhibition and the works within it have made the dialogic visible, creating the space for a polyvocal response.

I wrote about the exhibition on the June 17 Akimblog. For the complete text, click on  the following link.

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