Art under fire in Afghanistan
Mucem, fort Saint-Jean—
Fort Saint-Jean Georges Henri Rivière Building (GHR) 320 m2
From Friday 22 November 2019 to Sunday 1 March 2020
The exhibition aims to question the effects of this issue in the creation, dissemination and reception of art and culture in Afghanistan and elsewhere
Since 2001, a new generation of artists has emerged in Afghanistan, further to 20 years of war and a Taliban government hostile to art forms and cultural practices. But the newfound peace quickly shifted to another war between the Afghan government, the international coalition forces and the Taliban. Serial attacks have weakened the country, targeting cities and imposing ever more strict and severe security measures at public places, leading up to the suicide attack on 11 December 2014 on the auditorium of the Kabul-based Institut français d’Afghanistan. Weakened by these security issues, the local cultural and artistic scene has nevertheless not disappeared. Artists have not remained silent, inventing powerful formal responses, and the public has not deserted these spaces, sometimes risking their lives.
The exhibition aims to question the effects of this issue in the creation, dissemination and reception of art and culture in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It thus shifts issues that particularly affect weakened Mediterranean states that have been targeted by attacks on places of culture and heritage and that threaten creativity generally. Focusing on news and using the Afghan paradigm as a starting point, this exhibition will be accompanied by study days and an artistic programme (cinema, theater and music).
Its originality involves a view on this contemporary creativity in a way that is detached from preconceived ideas and romantic expectations often held in the West about Afghanistan. It focuses on the strange and complex dialogue that takes place between artists in situations of insecurity and the very varied responses they offer up.
The exhibition presents some sixty works by contemporary artists: photographs, paintings, artistic objects, videos, installations and calligraphies. This selection presents the most original and most representative works by this generation. They reflect the variety of mediums and forms explored by artists in a bid to express the horror of attacks and an omnipresent death in an urban space that has become hostile to its inhabitants. Not without humor, they act as witnesses to beliefs in a promised but never achieved security and to the bitter disillusion that this sample of works brings up.
—Curation: Guilda Chahverdi, cultural & artistic projects coordinator and director of the Institut français d’Afghanistan (2010-2013)
Agnès Devictor, senior lecturer at Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne and researcher at the HICSA (Cultural and social History of Art)
With the support of the Institut français d'Afghanistan