Walid Raad Les Louvres and/or Kicking the Dead

[Visual Arts & Performance]

In a highly original concept, Walid Raad takes visitors on a guided tour of his own exhibition, mixing his commentary with fiction and real life events. From Belgium to the Louvre Abu Dhabi via New York, the artist delivers a personal inquiry in which the fantastical soon finds its place, with images and works to back it up.

On the fringes of theatre and the visual arts, Walid Raad takes visitors on what can only be described as a very original visit of his own exhibition. Referring to the pieces on display, as well as videos and images, the artist recounts the genesis of the works, and in particular the quest which has taken him from a museum in Belgium dedicated to the First World War all the way to the Louvre Adu Dhabi. The various reflections and discoveries intersect, not without a few detours - notably that of the history of the two highest towers in New York, the city in which he teaches art, and that of the working classes in the United Arab Emirates. Alternating between documentary and fantastical, the through-line of the fiction develops little by little until two mysteries are resolved, the first one concerning five objects sent to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, and the second concerning a strangely ill-fated collection. Walid Raad is no newcomer to long-term projects, and a world of multiple imbrications and transformations. Les Louvres and/or Kicking the Dead echoes the Scratching on things I could disavow : A history of art in the Arab World project, which he began in 2007 and then presented at the CENTQUATRE-PARIS during the 2010 edition of the Festival d’Automne. In it, he turned his attentions to the ideological, economic and political dimensions behind the creation of infrastructures for the visual arts of a new kind, notably in the Gulf nations.
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Running time : 1h20