raising flags

raising flags 05

Combining elements of Arabic calligraphy and geometric motifs printed in black on translucent materials, Technologia is the beginning of a research project combining language and the optical effect of images and of the machine’s movements.

Technologia has multiple inspirations, ranging from Arabic calligraphy to contemporary art and linguistics. It evokes Marcel Duchamp’s circular Rotorelief – machines that produced optical illusions that brought together the techniques of optical art and those of the modern industrialized world. It also alludes to Wittgenstein’s work on language play, which aimed to demonstrate how significations are born from usage and context. In this design mounir fatmi recreated the phrase from the Quran Surat Az-Zumar 39:7 in the canon of traditional Arabic Calligraphy: “People know, people don’t know“. The phrase implies that those who are knowledgeable are more able to appreciate the meaning of life and the meaning of faith than those who are not.

With Technologia, Mounir Fatmi extends an invitation to participate in an experience, a serious game: what happens when Arabic calligraphy meets contemporary art and, more broadly, when different cultures collide? In an almost etymological sense, the title of the piece suggests that it’s also about the study of an art or a skill: the capacity to associate signs and perceive them. The produced images jeopardize the viewer’s visual reference points through repeated off-centering, but relentlessly attract his gaze nonetheless. They also tend to induce the viewer into a hypnotic state of meditative and active contemplation where linguistic signs taken out of their context and out of the realm of religious doctrine transform into abstract motifs, like so many elements of a new geometry and architecture.

The artwork by Mounir Fatmi is available as a flag edition in the format 80 x 120 cm. Edition: 60 copies, signed and numbered. Available under: www.mip.at/en/shop/raising-flags-editions.