Artiste-professeure invitée


Basma al-Sharif

Born in 2024 (Palestinian Territories)

Basma al-Sharif is an artist of Palestinian herit-age raised between France, the US, and the Gaza Strip who developed her practice nomadically. She works in cinema and installation to explore the legacy of colonialism through satirical, immersive, and lyrical works. Basma al-Sharif's Major exhibitions include: the Ruttenberg Con-temporary Photography Series for the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago, Modern Mondays at MoMA, CCA Glasgow, the Whitney Biennial, les Rencontres d'Arles, les Module at the Palais de Tokyo, Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum, the Riwaq Biennial Palestine, The Berlin Documentary Forum, the Sharjah Biennial, Videobrasil and Manifesta 8. Her first feature length film Ouroboros, an homage to the Gaza strip and the endless cycles of destruction with regeneration, premiered at Locarno with her short films participating in international film festivals in Berlin, Milan, London, Toronto, New York, Montreal, and Yamagata amongst others. Basma is represented by Galerie Imane Farès in Paris, and distributed by Video Data Bank and Arsenal. She is currently based in Berlin.

At Le Fresnoy al-Sharif will be working on an installation piece titled La Béotienne: a short film and sound piece in the form of a radio drama that draws from a previous work titled A Philistine. This piece centered around the reading of an original experimental novella printed in 25 copies and written in English and vernacular Arabic. Re-inventing historical train routes in the Middles East and relying on history, fantasy and erotic, the story takes us on one continuous voyage that proposes what such a journey would be like today. Borders are undone and the various inhab-itants of the Levant and North Africa intertwine along a train journey that escapes the imminent future and questions the reprecussions of the Nation State on the region.

"A Philistine's time-tripping, border-dissolving narrative follows the route of colonial-era train lines that have been lost to conflict. Often playful and humorous, at other times mystical and troubling, the book's representation of the Palestinian experience of displacement seems to alternate between an absence of hope --- the inevitability of more violence and injustice --- and a knowingly naive belief in better days to come. This emotional and political ambiguity both recognizes and resists the Palestinian tragedy while also refusing to be confined by it. It's an approach that looks for contradiction and complexity in people and their situations." Chris Sharratt, Art-Agenda review

The work was accompanied by large scale banner images taken on an actual journey in present day former Yugoslavia, and displays them against colonial era images from the library of congress of Egypt, Palestine, and Lebanon.

La Béotienne rewrites the narrative from A Phil-istine as a radio drama. Field recordings, original music, and voice-over actors will bring to life the text as a musical piece interspersed with visceral soundscapes and language. Accompanying this, a short film will draw out one of the central scenes of the text in which desperation has reached its limit and palm trees communicate with passengers. In response to the sound piece, the film creates an immersive space allowing us to imagine briefly what is no longer possible.

Taking its title from the pejorative names for an uncultured, crass, dull, or ignorant person: Béoti-enne, Nawariya, and Philistine are used interchange-ably within the work and in reference to the central character, who shows us the region in a new light.