Bouchra Khalili: The Opposite of the Voice-Over
September 3–October 27, 2013
Curated by Barbara Fischer
Presented in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Toronto
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
French-Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili’s work often takes the form of video installations, among other mediums, to explore the temporal and spatial dislocation associated with migration and exile. Underscored by her own history (Khalili was born in Casablanca, in 1975, and studied film and visual art in Paris), her works elaborate on the complex sense of subjectivity that accompanies the traversal of national boundaries marked by colonial history, postcolonial realignments of territory, economic deprivation, and capitalism.
On the occasion of Khalili’s first solo show in Canada, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery presents two major recent projects. The Mapping Journey Project (2008–2011), is an eight-channel video installation that records the voices of individuals forced into exile as they retrace their clandestine and circuitous journeys on a map of the Mediterranean region, across guarded borders, often to be shuttled back only to begin their journey again.
Speeches — Chapter 1: Mother Tongue (2012), the second work, is part of a trilogy entitled the Speeches Series (2012- 2013), articulating issues of language, citizenship, and working class. For the first chapter comprised of a five-channel video installation focusing on language, Khalili invited five individuals to translate and recite into their own dialects and languages fragments of speeches by Malcom X, Mohamed ben Abdelkrim El Khattabi, and Mahmoud Darwish, among others. Exiled from their home countries, the speakers anchor the speeches in their own contexts and bodies—in Paris and its suburbs—but raise the question of translation, of creolization as Édouard Glissant defines it, and of the superimposition of political contexts, and the movement between native languages as elements of political struggles.
Presented in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Toronto with support from the Institut français as part of Paris-Toronto. We gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Title Image: Installation view of Bouchra Khalili: The Opposite of the Voice-Over, 2013. Image credit: Toni Hafkenscheid.