Conversation with Bani Abidi and Nav Haq

Instances of Erasure
Video Screening Program 
October 19, 2023 - February 17, 2024

with Bani Abidi, Sena Başöz, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Guido Casaretto, Isaac Chong Wai, Itamar Gov, İz Öztat, Simon Wachsmuth

Program by: Nazlı Yayla & Marjolein van der Meer

Conversation with Bani Abidi and Nav Haq
Friday, 15 December 2023, 19h

Bani Abidi
The Song, 2022*
Single Channel Video, 22’36’’

Bani Abidi’s works are based on her interest in history, authority and state power. Her early engagement with video, beginning at the Art Institute of Chicago, led to the incorporation of performance and photography into her work. These mediums have provided Abidi with potent, sometimes subversive means to address problems of nationalism - specifically those surrounding the Indian - Pakistani conflict and the violent legacy of the 1947 partition dividing the two countries - and their uneven representation in the mass media. She is particularly interested in how these issues affect everyday life and individual experience. Her practice draws from a large spectrum of present and past experiences, which generate an intimate conversation about humane vulnerabilities embedded within broader themes.

The Song tells a story about migration and the accompanying feeling of displacement and loneliness coming along with it. Recently relocated to a European country, a senior man finds his way to adjust to new surroundings through ordinary sounds from his hometown. We follow along as he gradually creates a familiar space in a new environment. The resulting portrait of a man, made by an interplay between memory and sound, offers a unique depiction of how past and present are intertwined. 

Bani Abidi was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1971. She studied painting and printmaking, earning a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, in 1994. She later attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, earning an MFA in 1999. Her works have been featured internationally at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Dallas Contemporary, Sharjah Art Foundation, Gropius Bau, Kunsthaus Hamburg, Kunstraum Bethanien and dOKUMENTA13, among others. Her works are currently featured in collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, The British Museum, and Tate Modern.

*The Song was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Contemporary Art Society, John Hansard Gallery and Salzburger Kunstverein. Supported by Arts Council England.

Nav Haq is Associate Director at M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp – where he is responsible for the development of the artistic programme, and is an editor at Afterall Journal. He was previously Exhibitions Curator at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Curator at Gasworks, London. Haq has organized numerous monographic exhibitions with artists such as Imogen Stidworthy, Otobong Nkanga and Cevdet Erek, as well as significant overviews of Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Joseph Beuys and Shilpa Gupta. Haq was curator of the Göteborg International Biennial of Contemporary Art 2017. At M HKA he co-curated the group exhibition Don’t You Know Who I Am? Art After Identity Politics in 2014, as well as curating the interdisciplinary exhibitions Energy Flash: The Rave Movement (2016) and Monoculture – A Recent History (2020-21). In 2012, Haq received the Independent Vision Award for Curatorial Achievement, awarded by Independent Curators International, New York.

Platform 82 powered by Zilberman is a new art space that aims to bring together artists, curators and institutions from different corners of the world, generating dialogue through conversations, presentations, publications, and exchange programs.

Instances of Erasure

Instances of Erasure brings together 8 video works by 8 artists, accompanied by a series of conversations. Running from October 2023 until February 2024, two videos by two artists are on view roughly every four weeks, with conversations between artists and guests.

With films by Bani Abidi, Sena Başöz, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Guido Casaretto, Isaac Chong Wai, Itamar Gov, İz Öztat and Simon Wachsmuth. Guests include Sam Bardaouil, Zippora Elders, Nida Ghouse, Nav Haq, Hajra Haider Karrar, Füsun Türetken and Marianna van der Zwaag.

Instances of Erasure delves into the theme of erasure. Through their visual narratives, artists invite the viewer to contemplate the delicate threads that connect memory, history, and the shaping of identity. It encompasses urban structures, architectural fragments and unseen traces that enable one to re-read social and personal histories.