EMBODIED echos ~ Stories of Foreign Soul




Courtesy of the artists and the gallery
Courtesy of the artists and the gallery


“Foreign”, from the Proto-Indo-European’s root *dhwer “door, doorway”


It is often from a heavy door that one perceives the stories of foreign souls. Filtered by confined doorways, these voices become muffled, often inaudible, almost unbearable. This exhibition is an invitation to unlock this invisible *dhwer, to dare to open it, and to amplify the voices of those often silenced.


Embodied Echoes: Stories of Foreign Soul is a four-handed tale, but rarely written in the first person. It is authored by the Moroccan conceptual artist mounir fatmi (b.1970) and the Cuban born multi-disciplinary artist Dagoberto Rodríguez (b.1969). As artists in exile, both endured  the raw reality of the migrant condition. This perspective has nourished a sense of belonging to the global horde of emigrants, a community which constitutes the world’s fifth-largest population[1]. But these experiences also guide the artistic production of both artists: it nurtures in fatmi a dedication to dissecting otherness and identity as recurring themes, and in Rodriguez an obsessive interest in the geometry of refugee displacements.


As artisans of visual languages, both artists employ geometrical patterns to translate the distorted experience of time and space within the migration journey. The diversion of holy objects by fatmi in his “Around the square” series and his creation of puzzling temporal ellipsis in “Blinding Light” guide us through the rewriting of historical narratives and prompt us to reconsider our imagination  around the themes of races and orientalism. The transcription of the world’s largest refugee camps such as Zaatari or Dadaab into geometrical abstraction (as seen in his ongoing Refugee Camps series) by Dagoberto Rodríguez, invite us to focus more deeply on the permanent tragedy of those transitional cities.


Through visual therapy, playful short-circuits and philosophical detours, this co-written exhibition converging around the notion of otherness opens on a profound anthropological and universal polyphony.


[1] According to the World Migration Report 2022, there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6 per cent of the global population. McAuliffe, M. and A. Triandafyllidou (eds.), 2021. World Migration Report 2022. International Organization for Migration (IOM), Geneva.