8 April–16 July 2017
documenta 14, Athens
At documenta 14, Naeem Mohaiemen premieres two interrelated moving image works co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. In addition to his three-channel video installation Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017) in Kassel, the artist presents his first fiction film Tripoli Cancelled (2017). Exploring the relationship between imagination and the regeneration of hope, the work follows the protagonist’s daily routine, which consists of writing letters, staging scenes and reading from a weathered copy of Watership Down.
An abandoned airport has served as the man’s home for the past decade, rendering him both prisoner and king. The blurring of these roles is further examined through a study of our epoch, characterised by rigid borders, and is merged with an exploration of Hannah Arendt's ‘spectral humans’ and Primo Levi's recollection (analysed by Giorgio Agamben) of ‘Der Muselmänner’ (literally translated as ‘the Muslims’), a colloquial term used by Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz for other prisoners who had given up hope on life. Athens’ Ellinikon airport, designed by Eero Saarinen in 1969 and closed in 2001, serves as both an historical and contemporary backdrop for the film. After sixteen years of abandonment, last year the airport was allocated to luxury real estate development as part of European debt renegotiations.
Commissioned by documenta 14. Co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Jameel.
Naeem Mohaiemen 2017 Digital video, colour, sound, 88 minutes Commissioned by documenta 14 Co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Jameel Courtesy of Experimenter, Kolkata and the artist