Performance by Kader Abdolah

Opening The Liar’s Cloth

Performance by Kader Abdolah GRIMM Frans Halsstraat 26 22 February, 19:00 Exhibition: The Liar’s Cloth 22 February – 31 March 2018 Artists: Kader Abdolah, Mahmoud Bakhshi, Gwenneth Boelens, Louise Bourgeois, Dirk Braeckman, Thomas Hirschhorn, Abdoulaye Konaté, Liz Magic Laser, Moshe Ninio, Ana Torfs Curated by Nathanja van Dijk In the context of the exhibition The Liar’s Cloth, Persian-Dutch novelist Kader Abdolah has been invited to respond to Mahmoud Bakhshi’s project Night, Blackness and other stories during a public performance, as an intergenerational and interdisciplinary conversation about the use of metaphors and fables, without falling back into clichés and unreliable symbolism. The tension between text and image, words and visualization is very present in Bakhshi’s Night, Blackness and other stories (2017), which consists of a publication of stories without words and a series of black granite tablets. Drawing inspiration from poetic tendencies in Persian literature – where complex similes, semantics and fable-like storytelling are understood as devices that allow artists to encode their opinions in complex cultural and political circumstances – the work’s title refers to often used metaphors for oppression. This method appeared in early modern literature during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (early 1900s) and reappeared during the Islamic Revolution (1978-79). However, today, the once powerful metaphors have become a commonplace in contemporary popular literature, depriving them of their multi-layered shades and semantic potential. Having grown up in post-revolutionary Iran, Bakhshi turns to writers from an older generation, such as Abdolah, who were active in the student resistance movement, organizing first against the Shah and later in opposition to Ruhollah Khomeini and his administration. They employed fiction as a form of activism, which allowed them to resist through the illumination of the horrors hidden by the shadows of power, censorship and propaganda. 

February 22, 2018