Bouchra Khalili: The Speeches Series, video trilogy, 2012-2013

Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) presents the first edition of Positions, with contributions by five international artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Céline Condorelli, Bouchra Khalili, Charles van Otterdijk, and Koki Tanaka. Positions is a new exhibition format that sets a series of projects in dialogue with one another in the ten galleries of the museum’s old building. It will be held from the 5 July to 12 October 2014.

French-Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili will present the three-part work The Speeches Series – shown together for the first time in Positions. Bouchra Khalili’s work explores issues of nomadism, clandestineness and resistance, both in terms of discourse and representation. Her film work has sought to mediate these ideas by looking at how language, the body and even landscape might combine to articulate a political position. More specifically, Khalili’s has focused on political minorities, of which she views the contemporary migrant a part, looking how their position is elaborated from the margins.

The Speeches Series is built around three films, each comprised of five speeches by migrants that Khalili has collaborated closely with in Paris, Genoa and New York. The films focus respectively on mother tongues and dialects, citizenship, and working class. For the first chapter, Mother Tongue, Bouchra Khalili collaborated with five exiled people based in Paris and its outskirts, inviting them to translate, memorize, and « re- tell » fragments of major texts from political thought and contemporary culture written by Malcom X, Abdelkrim El Khattabi, Édouard Glissant, Aimé Césaire, and Mahmoud Darwish. For the second chapter, Words on Streets, Khalili worked with five immigrants in the Italian city of Genoa, who devised original manifestos that address notions of nationality, citizenship and belonging. The third and final chapter Living Labour sees five subjects in New York analyse the structure of oppression as it is reflected in labour conditions, epitomising social and political exclusion.

Viewed together The Speeches Series is a compelling examination of both the position of the contemporary immigrant as political subject as well as the power and empowerment of the speech act itself and how it can resonate across different contexts and histories. Together, Khalili’s precisely formulated films see the reality and struggle of the migrant, both contemporary and historical, mediated through speech, revealing how the marginalised or excluded finds agency in articulating their position.

Bouchra Khalili was born in 1975, in Casablanca, Morocco. She lives and works in Berlin. Speeches – Chapter 1: Mother Tongue had its premiere at Intense Proximity, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012, curated by Okwui Enwezor. Words on Streets was first shown at The Encylopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale, 2013 curated by Massimiliano Gioni. Living Labour was first presented as part of Khalili’s solo project at the Perez Art Museum, Miami in 2013, curated by Diana Nawi.

Curator: Nick Aikens

During the opening, on the 5th of July, there will be free access to the museum from 3pm until closure at 7pm.

  • Artists:
    Bouchra Khalili
  • Open:
    Saturday, 05 July 2014
  • Close:
    Sunday, 12 October 2014
  • Address:
    Van Abbemuseum, Bilderdijklaan 10 5611 NH Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Mail:
  • Phone:
    +31 40 238 10 00
  • Web:
    Van Abbemuseum
  • Opening hour:
    Tue – Sun | 11am – 5pm
  • Photo credits:
    Bouchra Khalili: The Speeches Series, video trilogy, 2012-2013, courtesy of the artist and of Van Abbemuseum

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