Bouchra Khalili counts as one of the most important video artist of her generation. At the Museum Folkwang in Essen she presented two works: "The Tempest Society" and "Twenty-Two Hours" (August 24 – October 21 2018). Ralph Goertz was allowed to meet her for an exclusiv interview. Many thanks!
In her work in film, installation, and print the French-Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili has spent over ten years examining strategies and discourses of resistance of minorities, elaborating platforms from which their voices can be heard. Her protagonists speak from their own personal situations, formulate narratives of protest in their own languages and gradually join together to form one large, collective voice.
Her new video installation Twenty-Two Hours has its starting point in Jean Genet’s lasting support for revolutionary movements: in his writings the French author repeatedly expressed solidarity with the oppressed from all over the world, referring for example to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the civil rights movement founded in 1966 for African-American rights. In Bouchra Khalili’s video installation, two African-American women question the legacy of the African-American struggle for equal rights then and now, as well as well the position of the radical ally, as embodied by Genet. What traces remain of this history? How can we describe the essential link between the power of language and issues of self-representation? How do our history and its poetry influence our current existence and what do they tell us of the spirit of our time?
Parallel to Twenty-Two Hours Bouchra Khalili also presents The Tempest Society at the Museum Folkwang in Essen. This was her contribution to documenta 14 in 2017: three Athenians from different backgrounds form a group to examine the current state of Europe. They meet on the stage of a former factory turned into a theatrical space. They call themselves “The Tempest Society” in homage to Al Assifa (in Arabic: “the storm”) a theatre company founded in Paris in the 1970s by North African immigrant workers and French students. Their forgotten lega- cy is now revived: on a theatre stage the ‘Tempest Society’ demands equal rights, citizen participation and solidarity.
Photo: Ralph Goertz © IKS-Medienarchiv