Floating Free is the first solo exhibition for the internationally renowned Palestinian artist Bashir Makhoul to take place in Palestine. The exhibition features a selected array of works representing the accumulation of his art practice over the past 10 years. It is not a retrospective in the sense that it does not truly cover the artists 20 years of diverse, rich and comprehensive experience in art but rather the culmination of a series of art projects questioning notions of ownership, temporality, reality and fabrication and their relations to territorial and cultural appropriation in the context of globalized societies, with particular reference to the Palestinian situation.
What we can consider today a series of art projects, in fact, found its way to development following the realization of Re: turn, 2009, an exhibition that was considered to be a significant turning point in Makhoul’s oeuvre and his accumulative and critical research on contemporary Palestinian art and the analysis of its cultural and political influences. In 2012, the artist produced the large-scale installation Enter Ghost Exit Ghost, which consisted of a maze, which opens up at a model-like for an Arab city/village. The project questioned colonial mechanisms of perceiving, handling and controlling occupied space, as it resembled a “ghost” city models established by Israelis for purposes of military training. This was followed by Giordano Occupato, featured at the 55th Venice Biennale, which involved the audience in performing the occupational act by setting up their own cardboard-house models and placing them randomly around the garden of the Liceo de Artistico in Venice. Two projects followed and exhibited in 2014 in UK, House of Cards and the Genie, one consisted of a series of magnified monumental oil paintings of images depicted from Giordano Occupato, while the Genie took the cardboard houses further into another exploration creating hanging clusters of neighborhoods referring to refugee camps as if hovering with its overwhelming weight over the geopolitical context of the middle east.
The exhibition in Palestine will consist of a series of 21 monumental oil paintings, Bullet Hole tapestries, a floor installation of glass hemispheres, the Globe a series of oil painted wooden globes, a video installation for Enter Ghost Exit Ghost, Suspended Towns of cardboards, Flagpole a garden installation and a performance piece, Thirst a video installation and The Lost House, an installation of gold, crude oil and broken mirror.
We seek to present Bashir Makhoul as an established, internationally renowned Palestinian artist, who in addition to a very rich oeuvre has contributed to academic research on Palestinian art and has been involved in a number of publications. This exhibition will bring together the accumulation of his artistic experience over the past 10 years, through featuring the previously mentioned series of works and further exploring their meaning in the Palestinian context. The exhibition will consist of several components and will be featured in a number of venues in Jerusalem and Birzeit. Given that this will be the first solo exhibition for Bashir Makhoul in Palestine, we sought to include a preview of his older works such that this series is perceived as part of an accumulative process of research and art production, and because we believe there exists a highly rich oeuvre that cannot be excluded from this exhibition. This will be presented through 2 videos produced specially for this exhibition.