Over the last ten years, Jarrar has frequently addressed the subject of borders, particularly the elaborate system of checkpoints, fences, and walls that have split communities in his native Palestine. The title of the exhibition refers to the impermanent nature of politically imposed boundaries, which can always be redrawn or demolished.
Castles Built from Sand will Fall provides a condensed overview of Jarrar’s focus on this issue with a range of work in different media. Featuring installation, photography, video, sculpture, and art objects, the exhibition offers a look into the various strands of his creative practice. This curated selection also emphasises Jarrar’s use of diverse forms as artistic interventions that encourage viewers to rethink the intersections of life, politics, and visual culture.
The exhibition is organised as an immersive experience with new installations and objects alongside the artist’s older works such as Journey 110 (2008), a video that documents a hidden 110-metre passageway beneath the massive wall that snakes through the West Bank. Jarrar fimed Journey 110 while travelling with Palestinians who pass through a sewage-filled tunnel in order to reach the other half of Beit Hanina, a village divided in two by the Israeli-built barrier. In the darkened footage, the light of an opening on the other side guides people down the murky path. An elderly woman struggles to wade through the mud with the help of travel companions while a baby is passed to a waiting set of hands. Jarrar films the scene as though giving a first-person account rather than capturing it at a distance as a documentarian, providing an unconventional view of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
The artist’s re-creation of this sense of immediacy is reiterated in an installation that cuts through the gallery space in the form of a concrete wall. When seeking to view the exhibition in its entirety, gallery visitors must find a hole that the artist has carved out in order to access remaining works. Throughout the exhibition, objects, images, and videos show the tragic absurdity of the occupation, describing a surreal yet devastating reality.
On 14 November at 7.30 pm, The Yard at Alserkal Avenue will screen Khaled Jarrar’s film, Infiltrators (2012), which portrays the struggle of Palestinians in the face of Israeli checkpoints.
About the Artist
With photographs, videos, installations, films, and performances that are focused on his native Palestine, multidisciplinary artist Khaled Jarrar explores the impact of modern-day power struggles on ordinary citizens while seeking to maximise the social potential of artistic interventions. Over the last decade, Jarrar has used the subject of Palestine, particularly the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, as a starting point for larger investigations of militarised societies, including the gendered spaces of violence and the links between economic and state powers that fuel and profit from war or political conflict.
Jarrar’s bold, and sometimes controversial, projects often include various media and have earned him international recognition, most recently as the recipient of the 2016 Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Award. In 2007, for example, he displayed photographs of the Howarra and Qalandiya checkpoint in plain sight of Israeli soldiers at the border. Other projects such as his Live and Work in Palestine passport stamps and his award-winning documentary film The Infiltrators (2012), subvert the dominant narrative of an equally fought, two-sided conflict by highlighting the limited mobility of ordinary Palestinians who struggle to have access to basic things such as healthcare, education, or travel documents.
In seeking to engage a wide audience through public performances and interventions, Jarrar has also presented his multilayered projects abroad. On the streets of Helsinki, Finland he built a temporary Hunger Wall in 2014, a barrier composed of loaves of bread that symbolises the thin line between prosperity and poverty, particularly under military occupation. With Dis-/ Obey, he invited dozens of volunteers to participate in a military march that ultimately placed them in opposition to Jarrar’s voiced orders and an installation of camouflage uniforms. Commissioned by Checkpoint Helsinki as part of the Helsinki Festival, Dis-/Obey investigates military power, disobedience, and individual responsibility in con ict zones.
Jarrar’s Upcycle the Wall series, which has been shown internationally at such venues as the Aga Khan Museum, is perhaps his most well-known project to date and draws attention to the occupation of Palestine with sculptures made of reconstituted concrete from the apartheid wall that illegally annexes and cuts through parts of the West Bank. These works were highlighted in a critically acclaimed exhibition at Ayyam Gallery London in 2013 that included the installation of a massive concrete partition and related photographs.
Recently, Jarrar was highlighted by a number of international publications such as The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and Creative Time Reports for his artistic intervention at the U.S-Mexico border. There, he removed and reappropriated a piece of the partition in order to create a ladder that now stands as a symbolic means of crossing for Mexicans who are separated from their American relatives.
Born in Jenin in 1976, Khaled Jarrar lives and works in Ramallah, Palestine. Jarrar completed his education in Interior Design at the Palestine Polytechnic University in 1996, and graduated from the International Academy of Art Palestine with a Bachelor in Visual Arts degree in 2011. The following year, his documentary The In ltrators (2012) won several accolades at the 9th Annual Dubai International Film Festival, and con rmed his importance in global cinema.
Jarrar’s solo exhibitions include Ayyam Gallery Dubai (12, Alserkal Avenue) (2016); Bartsch & Cie, Geneva (2015); Galerie Polaris, Paris (2014, 2012); Gallery One, Ramallah (2014); Ayyam Gallery London (2013); Galerie Guy Bartschi, Geneva (2013); and the NEWTOPIA: The State of Human Rights Contemporary Arts in Mechelen and Brussels (2012). The artist’s recent collective exhibitions were held at venues such as Hinterland Gallery, Vienna (2016); Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (2016); Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2016); Palais De La Culture, Constantine (2015); Pirineos Sur Festival (2015); Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah (2015); New Museum, New York City (2014), Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, London (2014), University of Applied Arts, Vienna (2014), USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa (2013); The Madrid Palestine Film Festival (2013); 15th Jakarta Biennale (2013); and 7th Berlin Biennale (2012).