Mounir Fatmi: Jameel Prize 3

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Video Transcript

Mounir Fatmi


My art practice is, first of all, a construct of space and a play with language. What interests me most is the end of ideologies, the end of consumer objects for example, the moment that comes just before the object changes, so there is a mutation, either of an object or a concept.


‘Modern Times’ is a very complex installation. It’s a piece which really shows how the Arab worlds entered modernity. In 2011 we saw all the change in the Arab world, it was like a machine that had started to turn. And the idea was to create the famous machine that we find in Charlie Chaplin’s film (Modern Times).


I wanted to use the forms of circle calligraphy and to assemble them to create the machine but to give them a sort of mechanism, and a dynamic to this calligraphy.


Of course, the idea in general is to create a fascinating and beautiful machine, but at the same time violent and dangerous.  The usage of video footage is very interesting because this medium…can convey that reality doesn’t exist. It’s very interesting. It’s not a medium that is always present, like a painting that can’t be turned off.  We know that when we turn of the video, it no longer exists. That is very interesting, the idea of illusion. And in relation to the public, in my opinion what is interesting for them is to fall into the trap; because I think every piece of art is an aesthetic trap.


Morocco-born Mounir Fatmi lives and works between Paris and Tangier. He creates videos, installations, drawings, paintings and sculptures that directly address the current events of the world. Here he explains what drives him to create these complex and foreboding works, which he intends to appeal directly to the viewer’s doubts, fears and desires.

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