carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of Palestinian-American artist and filmmaker Nida Sinnokrot with the gallery. Sinnokrot’s work is informed by cinema, colonial history, narrative structures, and the politics of technology. Through tactical acts of technical and conceptual détournement, his work aims to subvert various technologies of control that give rise to shifting social, political, and geographic instabilities.
The exhibition Expand Extract Repent Repeat presents recent sculpture, photographs, and installation. The works in the exhibition reference flows of global capital, the writing and rewriting of history, cycles of debt, and architectures of occupation and expansion. Although Expand Extract Repent Repeat speaks to the context of contemporary Palestine, the exhibition does not focus on identity, but instead examines how social, political, environmental, economic, and political structures play out across national categories. Deriving its title from the biblical tale in which a whale devours the prophet Jonah for defaulting on his promise to god, the work Jonah’s Whale comprises a shipping container once used as an Israeli settler caravan and later repurposed as a Palestinian construction site office. Sinnokrot sliced the ready-made container into eleven cross-sections, revealing layers of steel, gypsum, insulation, wires, carpets, and a mattress. A mechanism of control and standardization, the shipping container is a form that regulates currents, whether natural, economic, or political. With Jonah’s Whale and the photo series Caravan, named for both ancient Middle Eastern trading practices and contemporary pre-fab mobile home units, Sinnokrot shows how this trans-national symbol of global trade functions as a complex palimpsest of power and commerce within a regional context. Layered with history and patina, the structure is inscribed with traces of its journey from container to caravan to construction site office.
A single-file line of anthropomorphic objects entitled Rubber-Coated Rock, All-Stars 02 flanks the corrugated steel “whale.” Assembled quickly from rubble, stone, discarded balls, and lashings collected around Jerusalem’s check-points, these hybrid projectiles precariously balance atop custom metal stands to confront the viewer at eye level. Extending Sinnokrot’s investigation of divine, commercial, and social debt, the reflective, anodized aluminum slats of Ya Ghanamati (Billboard no. 02) open and close to reveal strips of musty sheepskin. The sculpture adapts the form of the mechanical tri-louver billboard commonly seen advertising low-interest mortgages in the West Bank in an effort to coerce rural dwellers and nomadic communities into a system of commercial debt and real estate speculation. Both Whale and Billboard become emblems of the mechanisms of commercial debt. The sliced caravan as well as the perpetually rotating surfaces of polished aluminum and sheepskin figure the cycles fueling dreams of “Return” within the current landscape of consumer culture.
Exquisite Rotation consists of a gilded manuscript presented open on a lectern. A live feed captures and projects the flickering of the book’s empty pages, animated by periodic gusts of air from mechanically oscillating fans. Microphones encircle the book to amplify the sound of its fluttering pages, yet this accumulation of objects is at once beautiful and disquieting; their spindly bent forms hover over the manuscript like a huddled group of examiners autopsying a prone body—in this case, a history erased or yet to be written.
Nida Sinnokrot (b.1971, USA) grew up in Algeria and currently lives and works in Boston and Jerusalem. His films and installation works have been shown in numerous international exhibitions, including including KIOSK, Ghent (2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2015); Darat al Funun, Amman (2014); Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (2014); the travelling exhibition Tea with Nefertiti, Mathaf, Doha; Institut du monde arabe, Paris; Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Spain and Staatliches Museum Ägypticher Kunst, Munich (2012-2014); Bozar Museum, Brussels (2008) and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2004). Palestinian Blues, his first film, has won numerous awards in international film. Nida Sinnokrot also participated in the 57th Venice Biennial (2017), the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017) and the 10th Tapei Biennial (2016). He is currently Assistant Professor in MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) and co-founder of Sakiya – Art | Science | Agriculture.