Bringing together almost two decades of sculpture, film, drawings, large-scale installations and photography, this is the first UK exhibition devoted to the multimedia artist.
Palestinian artist Emily Jacir was born in Bethlehem, raised in Saudi Arabia and educated in Italy. In this exhibition at Whitechapel – her first solo show in the UK – she explores the complex nature of her relationship with Europe; the Mediterranean in particular. Working in a variety of media, Jacir produces immersive installations that merge political themes with her own biographical experiences. Literature, etymology and the act of translation are also key themes for her exploration.
Video installation ENTRY DENIED (a concert in Jerusalem), features a performance by Austrian musicians who were prevented from playing in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem after one member of the group Marwan Abado – who is of Palestinian origin – was refused admittance at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport for ‘security reasons’. Jacir invited them to perform the concert exactly as it was to have taken place but in an empty theatre in Vienna.
Also featured are the plans for her unrealised venture, stazione, for which she proposed to display Arabic translations of the signs at each vaporetto station along Route 1 during the Venice Biennale in 2009. The project was cancelled after intervention from the local authorities.