Giorgio Persano

Lida Abdul

20 Jun - 05 Oct 2013

© Lida Abdul
What we have overlooked
20 June - 5 October 2013

The large wall of the gallery’s space in Via Principessa Clotilde will host the two-channel work by Lida Abdul entitled What we have overlooked (2011), presented at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.

The video, filmed by a lake near Kabul, shows a man progressively slipping underwater whilst holding a flag. In an alternation of close-up and distant views, we follow the actions of the man to whom the subtitles give a voice, until he finally vanishes under the surface.
The sharp difference between the idyllic landscape and the man’s suffering (we do not want to become legendary because we’ll disappear / we seek to cleanse ourselves from the illusions of certainties / we are tired of remembering so much), stresses to what extent the work develops between contrasts, including some formal ones: despite having Western culture as its point of reference, the artist draws also on a traditional and iconographic baggage based on Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, to which, in turn, Afghan culture owes much. The outer refinement thus clashes with the contemporary disaster that is always present in the artist’s works and is here dropped within a perfect, immobile frame, a blue lake in which are reflected some snow-clad mountains.
In particular, in the video, Lida Abdul examines the relationship between individual and nation, represented by the flag, its abstract symbol (it holds you without holding you). The almost dialectical relationship created between a man and his country – which not only over-determines his presence but can even demand the sacrifice of his life – finally leads the artist to make clear the dramatically high price the nationalist feeling is prepared to pay: the annulment of the individual.

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