Past Disquiet


Past Disquiet

Curated by Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti
27 July, 2018 to 1 October, 2018
Special Exhibitions Hall, Level -2
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    Tel al-Zaatar intervention in Mestre, Italy by the L'Arcicoda, Collectif de peintres des pays arabes, and Collectif des peintres antifascistes, Venice Biennale, September 1976

Opening reception: Thursday 26 July 2018, 18:00 to 21:00.

Past Disquiet is a documentary and archival exhibition centered on research conducted on and around the story of the International Art Exhibition for Palestine, which opened in the spring of 1978 at the Beirut Arab University. The size and scope of the exhibition was unprecedented for the region and yet it seems to have eclipsed from art historical narratives and texts. The investigation led to other marginal histories of “museums in exile,” contemporary to the International Art Exhibition for Palestine, such as the International Museum of Resistance Salvador Allende, Artists Against Apartheid, and Art for the People of Nicaragua. The reconstructed story of the exhibition has traced complex and sometimes intersecting networks, as well as a rarely explored history of politically engaged artists mobilized in different modes around the seminal causes inscribed in the tri-continental international anti-imperialist solidarity movement of the 1970s, such as the opposition to the Vietnam War, the rejection of the Pinochet dictatorship, the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and in support of the Palestinian struggle.

Past Disquiet displays, mediates, and incarnates themes and questions that have guided the curators’ research, using montaged video of archival material and film as well as contemporary interviews and writing, in addition to reproductions of documents. It maps constellations of artists and collectives bound by political affiliations and solidarities, beginning with solidarity with Palestine and expanding to the rest of the world.

The first version of the exhibition was produced by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in 2015, and the second version by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin in 2016. The third Spanish-language version was produced by the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (MSSA), and presented in the spring of this year. This present edition was coproduced by the Sursock Museum and Lucid, and with support from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).

Research for Past Disquiet was made possible thanks to the support of Rana Sadik and Samer Younis, the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), ZedGrant, the A. M. Qattan Foundation, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (MSSA), Tensta Konsthall, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej Warszawie,, and the Institut national de l’histoire de l’art.


About the curators

Kristine Khouri is an independent researcher and writer whose research interests focus on the history of arts circulation and infrastructure in the Arab world, and archival practices and dissemination. Khouri is a member of the board of the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut.

Rasha Salti is a writer, researcher, and curator of art and film living and working between Beirut and Berlin.

Together, Khouri and Salti are cofounders of the History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group, a research platform focused around the social history of art in the Arab world. They co-authored the essay “Beirut’s Musée Imaginaire: The promise of modernity in the age of mechanical reproduction.” Their current project, Past Disquiet, is a long-term research project which began in 2008 and was transformed into a documentary and archival exhibition. Khouri and Salti are the coeditors of the forthcoming publication, Past Disquiet: Artists, International Solidarity, and Museums in Exile published by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2018).