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The Blinding Light

From June 16, 2022 until September 18, 2022Mondays through Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Casa Árabe Hall of Columns (at Calle Alcalá, 62, basement level). Mondays through Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

On Wednesday, June 15, Casa Árabe is officially opening this exhibition by Moroccan artist mounir fatmi at its Madrid headquarters. The show forms part of PhotoEspaña 2022.

The Blinding Light is an artistic exhibition project made up of works by artist mounir fatmi (Tangiers, 1970), whose various pieces were inspired by a miracle scene painted by Fra Angelico: the Altarpiece of St. Mark (1440). Its predella shows the miracles performed by two saints, Cosmas and Damian. The patron saints of surgeons and pharmacists, these twin brothers were supposedly born in Syria and converted to Christianity in their youth.

The miracle chosen by mounir fatmi is the healing of the Deacon Justinian. In this scene, the Arab brothers perform the miracle of healing the deacon by grafting the leg of a recently deceased Ethiopian man onto him. This scene evokes the mixing of a white body with a black limb, and also the living with the dead, thus questioning notions of race, cultural mixture and identity.

To approach the representation of this event, throughout his career mounir fatmi has produced a series of photo montages (the first of which dates back to 2013) containing several images which show an operating room (including its technological equipment and hygiene measures) superimposed upon this miraculous scene. In doing so, the medical staff are placed next to the two saints, forming a single work group. As a result, ghosts and living people are present in another form of reality, a fantastic temporality as miraculous as the biblical scene itself.

In addition to being a timely reflection on the idea of admixture, this exhibition draws us closer to associating the Renaissance and hypermodernity. This temporal ellipsis, which overlays different times and spaces, brings technology and anesthetics into a world once ruled by divine miracles. The characters in the painting therefore become ghosts. This discrepancy forces viewers to go back and forth between the two eras in their minds. The overlap in time gives rise to the idea that a religious miracle is feasible today. mounir fatmi attempts to combine spheres of belief often seen as antagonistic in an unexpected way here. On the one hand, science, order, reason and the tangible; on the other hand, religion and the universe of faith, the miraculous and the sacred.

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Light or Shadow of what was and still is

Casa Árabe will be showing this exhibition at its Madrid headquarters as part of the official program of PhotoEspaña 2022. The exhibition won the second edition of the Nur call for projects, organized by the two entities. It displays works by Collective 1200 from Lebanon.
From June 1, 2022 until September 25, 2022 MADRID