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Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst: Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

May 21–September 11, 2022

Conversation between Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme: June 11, 5–6pm, a partnership between Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst and frieze magazine

Migros Museum für Gegegenwartskunst is delighted to present Where the soil has been disturbed (2022), a new commission by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (living and working in New York and Ramallah) and May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth: Only sounds that tremble through us (2020–22). This is the artists’ first solo exhibition in Switzerland.

In their work, Abbas and Abou-Rahme deal with different forms of resistance and poetic manifestation through dance, music, and language. Their exhibition at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst features a multi-channel video and sound piece composed of footage that documents new performances developed with musicians Makimakkuk, Haykal, and Julmud, as well as dancer Rima Baransi, all from Ramallah. The focus rests on how people bear witness to and narrate experiences of violence, loss, displacement, and forced migration through performance. In the accompanying new commission, Abbas and Abou-Rahme present an installation that features images alongside dried plants from Palestine that symbolize loss and resilience in its various forms. Taken together, the work offers visitors a new perspective on the communication, archiving, and preservation of experiences of loss and expressions of resistance.

The artists’ archive, which consists of found video clips, their own recordings, written and spoken stories, and collected objects, forms the basis of the works at Migros. These recordings–from Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Yemen–showcase song, dance, and performance, as well as expressions of protest. As a whole, the accumulated material transmits physical manifestations of a collective memory that revolts against the erasure of communities and lays claim to an intrinsic right to political self-determination. This body of knowledge that Abbas and Abou-Rahme activate through their work becomes, in turn, an effective counter-design to colonial and capitalist narratives.

The long-term project May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth is co-commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Dia Art Foundation, New York.

Curator: Dr. Michael Birchall (Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst)
Curatorial Assistant: Joel Spiegelberg (Trainee, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst)

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich

T +41 44 277 20 50
F +41 44 277 62 86
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