AboutIniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) presents the first solo exhibition in the UK by Lebanese artist, theatre director, playwright and actor Rabih Mroué at Rivington Place. Influenced by the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), Mroué looks at issues of historical narration, exclusion and remembrance. For this exhibition he presents new installations alongside key recent works and a live performance.
Mroué's approach merges critical theatre and performance art, and shifts the role of the artist. Through his work Mroué asks questions such as: âhow to express truth through fiction?; can artistic subjectivity create a meaningful exchange with a public divided by religious and political outlooks?, and how can one establish dialogue in a traumatised society?'
A significant aspect of Mroué's work deals with histories of conflict. Using found documents such as newspaper clippings, video footage and photographs, he aims to âerase' the weight of these memories by publicly sharing them. References to specific political situations are used to clear the way for alternative futures.
In On Three Posters. Reflections on a video-performance, 2004, Mroué analyses the different film takes rehearsed by one of the first suicide bombers in Lebanon while recording his final video confession. Grandfather, Father and Son, 2010, brings together material from the library of Mroué's grandfather, a religious scholar turned Communist, who was assassinated; a treatise written by his father during 1982, the year of the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and a story by Rabih Mroué himself, published towards the end of the war in 1989.
Je Veux Voir (I want to see), 2010, an installation made especially for the exhibition, is based on Mroué's experience of co-starring with French actress Catherine Deneuve in a feature film (2008). The film is an account of Deneuve's visit to Beirut during a film festival when she went to see the aftermath of the 2007 Israeli attack on the South of Lebanon. She was accompanied by Mroué for what was his first visit back to his native village since the attack.
The Inivators (Iniva's Youth Advisory Board, aged 18-25), in collaboration with artist Tania El Khoury, are staging live art performances and public interventions with their individual response to Rabih Mroué's work, follow their activities and book places at events online.