17 Nov 2023 - 19 Jan 2024

100 mètres à vol d’oiseau

L'appartement 22


Contemporary art is brought into to the heart of political reflection Mounir Fatmi’s new exhibition, entitled 100 mètres à vol d’oiseau. This exhibition explores geographical distance and artistic proposition through a new perspective, linking the Moroccan Parliament in Rabat to the exhibition space L’appartement 22. Through this moment of confrontation, the artist invites us to question the very nature of art and politics.

Mounir Fatmi draws his inspiration from the unlikely encounter of these two universes seemingly separated by a mere distance of 100 metres as the crow flies. This apparent proximity invites viewers to question their understanding of space and power, while contemplating both complex notions. The Moroccan Parliament, symbol of political power, stands majestically in Rabat, while L’appartement 22, a space for artistic expression, is just a few steps away. However, this distance of 100 metres seems to be an insurmountable abyss. The artist then forces us to think about these two fundamental questions: What is an artistic proposition? and What is a political proposal? Are they truly so distant from each other? And can one influence the other?

The exhibition 100 mètres à vol d’oiseau is an engaging artistic experience that invites the public to rethink their perception of power, space and creativity. It also reminds us that political and artistic proposals are both means of exploring, questioning and transforming our reality. Through a variety of mediums, including video, sculpture, photography and drawing, the artist once again attempts to deconstruct the traditional barriers between art and politics.

As soon as you enter the exhibition, you will immediately be captivated by drawings from the project 100 mètres à vol d’oiseau. These drawings give a taste of what you are going to discover, immersing the viewer in the exhibition. They instantly ground you in the exhibition space, where you will find the series entitled The dynamic geography of history. This series features a minimalist layout of black and white squares reminiscent of a video game interface. The work explores the connections between political and artistic movements by mapping a symbolic territory representing the unfolding of history. Although the relationship between artistic movements and political ideologies seems to be characterised by a dynamic opposition, the presence of the verb “to be” in the middle of the squares suggests an absolute equivalence between these opposing terms. This work invites us to consider history as a matter of spaces and relationships rather than as a chronological continuum.

Looking at the wall in front of us, we discover the installation History is not mine, which employs video and various elements, including an Arabic typewriter, a stack of white paper and hammers, to explore the concept of historical narration. In the video, a man uses the hammers to strike the typewriter, producing a sound that evokes the progression of time and the inevitable passage of history. This installation encourages the viewer to identify with their role as witness and accomplice in the process of writing history, while encouraging reflection on what stance to adopt in the face of this historical narrative.

To conclude, on the parallel wall is the sculpture 100 mètres à vol d’oiseau. This work consists of a suspended coaxial antenna cable on the wall, dropping towards the ground into a dense network that extends over a distance of 100 metres. This cable, typically used for transmitting video and audio signals in television and communications systems, is here repurposed from its original function to create an imposing sculptural structure. The title of the work, 100 mètres à vol d’oiseau, evokes an aerial view, as if we were contemplating the sculpture from the perspective of a bird in flight. This perspective highlights the geometric complexity of the structure and its interconnected nature, creating a striking contrast between the minimalist and orderly form on the one hand, and the mess of entangled cables on the other. The sculpture also prompts broader reflections on how technology influences our perception of the world through complex communication networks that are capable of bringing us closer or further away from each other.

In the exhibition 100 mètres à vol d’oiseau, Mounir Fatmi once again illustrates his remarkable ability to explore the political, philosophical and technological questions that have always been present in his work. With a poetic touch and sometimes subtle humor, he deconstructs these complex themes and then reassembles them in an innovative artistic form. By navigating the intermediate spaces of contemporary thought, Mounir Fatmi invites us to a captivating visual experience, prompting deep reflection on the world around us. His exhibition serves as an invitation to transcend the limits of traditional thought and artistic expression.

Press release from Studio Fatmi

Image: Mounir Fatmi. History is not mine. 2013-14. Typewriter, hammers, A4 paper, video on flatscreen, Bilboquet game, typed sheets. Installation view of 100 mètres à vol d’oiseau at L’appartement 22, 2023, Rabat. Photography © Inass Bouallou. Image courtesy of the artist and Ceysson & Bénétière, Paris