Exhibition runs June 6 – July 17, 2015.
The Or Gallery is pleased to present #saltandwater: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, an exhibition of four Palestinian artists. In his 1981 book, The Political Unconscious, Fredric Jameson asserts the idea of Louis Althusser’s “absent cause” within a structure. He posits that the structure itself is intrinsic to its effects, that Jacques Lacan’s “real” and Louis Althusser’s “absent cause” can never be represented in their entirety, as the signifier will always take the place of the signified. In looking at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Jameson’s argument can bring new light to the violence and unspeakable totality of the ongoing occupation. Seemingly innocuous substances, salt and water, can be viewed as materials which are inherently political. Palestinians now receive at most 73 litres of water per capita, lower than the World Health Organization’s recommended 100 litres for daily consumption. The seas are another space of contestation, as access to the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea is not available to Palestinians without severe security restrictions.
The curator, Margaret Stern, selected four Palestinian artists who work within this theme. They use water and salt as signifiers of the industrialization and politicization of resources with political ramifications for the human body. Rehab Nazzal’s A Dead Sea(2010), Noor Abuarafeh’s A State Closer to Death Than it is to Life (2012), Mais Darwazah’s My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (2013) and Ayed Arafah’s Horizon (2010) play with both salt and water to explore issues of boundaries and resources. Examining this conflict from the material realm of metaphor and bodily necessity allows questions to be asked of the occupation of the Palestinian people, their subsequent resistance, and the issues of resources within this area of conflict.
This exhibition is made possible with support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at The University of British Columbia.
For further info please visit: http://www.orgallery.org/saltandwater-the-palestinian-israeli-conflict