The Museum’s Mirage of Walid Raad
Adrastus Collection proudly presents its most recent acquisition: Walid Raad’s Views from inner to outer compartments: Louvre (2012). This artwork was displayed in a three-year project entitled “Preface to the First Edition” hosted by The Louvre Museum in Paris.
Through metal stencils that hang from the ceiling and the projection of white lights onto them, linear silhouettes are created on the walls of Salle de la Maquette, resembling doorways and corridors. This exercise of simulation contours the illusion of a museum’s space, as shadows and interstices device a mirage of an exhibition room. The phantasmagoric architecture levitates over the spectator, who becomes witness of the construction’s disintegration into abstraction. In fact, Views from inner to outer compartments: Louvre (2012) is the deconstruction of the institutional space. However, for Jaques Derridá deconstruction is not synonymous with destruction.1
In fact, “it is, much closer to the original meaning of the word analysis itself, which etymologically means to undo. […] a virtual equivalent for to de-construct.”2 Specifically, in this artwork, Walid Raad visually deconstructs the 18th century idea of the “universal museum”. Moreover, “Raad occupies a hitherto non-existent critical space for re-interpreting personal and collective memories, and for reimagining the future of his home country.”3 That is to say, the Lebanese artist questions the massive financial and cultural investments that are being made in the Arabic world. Furthermore, this artwork concretely queries the recently opened wing for Islamic Art at the Louvre Museum and it’s satellite venue in Abu Dhabi, which is envisaged to be open in 2016. For Walid Raad, this artwork unveils his critical look at the increasing enthusiasm for heritage and exposes his confrontation with cultural politics. Just like an archive, the museum is a repository of history that is been devoted to the displacement of objects and the globalization of art.
Born in 1967, Walid Raad’s artwork has been presented at Documenta, Kassel (in 2002 and 2007), the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennials, the 2003 Venice Biennale, the Kitchen, New York (2006) and the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2006), and numerous other museums and venues in Europe, the Middle East and North America. Raad is also the recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts (2007), the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2007) and the Camera Austria Award (2005).4
1. [For futher information about the concept of “Deconstruction”, please visit: Balkin, Jack. “Deconstruction.” Yale Law School. Yale University, 1996. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/jbalkin/articles/deconessay.pdf>.] ↩ 2. [Cuddon, J.A. A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Third Edition ed. London: Blackwell, 1991. Sourced in https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/derrida/deconstruction.html ] ↩ 3. [Bonacorsi, Ivo. “Preface to the First Edition.” DOMUS. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <http://www.domusweb.it/en/art/2013/02/26/preface-to-the-first-edition.html>. ] ↩ 4. [“Biography.” Walid Raad–Biography. Paula Cooper Gallery. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. http://www.paulacoopergallery.com/artists/walid-raad/biography.] ↩
• “Biography.” Walid Raad–Biography. Paula Cooper Gallery. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. http://www.paulacoopergallery.com/artists/walid-raad/biography .
• Balkin, Jack. “Deconstruction.” Yale Law School. Yale University, 1996. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/jbalkin/articles/deconessay.pdf .
• Bonacorsi, Ivo. “Preface to the First Edition.” DOMUS. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. http://www.domusweb.it/en/art/2013/02/26/preface-to-the-first-edition.html .
• Cuddon, J.A. A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Third Edition ed. London: Blackwell, 1991. Sourced in https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/derrida/deconstruction.html