Private View: Thursday 24 September, 6-8pm
Open as part of Frieze's West End Night, on 15 October, 6-8pm
Following Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme's critical acclaim at the 12th Sharjah Biennial (2015), Carroll / Fletcher brings the second chapter of their ambitious research-based project The Incidental Insurgents (2012-2015) to London. The multi-media installation unfolds as a three-part narrative, drawing on figures as disparate as Russian anarchist Victor Serge and the Parisian Bonnot Gang; Abu Jildeh, Arameet and their companions fighting the British in 1930’s Palestine; the artist as bandit in Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives; and Abbas and Abou-Rahme themselves in present-day Palestine.
The first part looks at the resonance between the inspiring, bizarre and sometimes tragic stories of these diverse bandits, the outsider rebel par excellence, often rewritten as mere criminals (or naively romanticised as wayward figures) and excluded from the narrative of revolutionary struggle. Ironically these figures most clearly articulate the incompleteness and inadequacies in existing oppositional movements political language and imaginary.
While the opening chapter expresses the longing for more radical forms of action and the characters' urgent need to overcome their unbearable living conditions, the second part, Unforgiving Years (2014) - which is premiering in the UK - looks at what happens when these gestures are unfulfilled, for those who are not killed, somehow left behind. It examines a recurrent impulse to refuse the seeming 'permanence' of a capitalist-colonial present, that though defeated at multiple moments, continues to resurge and return. Unforgiving Years is about things lost and others glimpsed in the wreckage, about what can be conjured into being from the ashes. A victory in defeat. A provocation to rethink the seemingly unimaginable.
Basel Abbas (b. 1983, Nicosia, Cyprus) and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (b. 1983, Boston, US) live and work between Ramallah and New York. Solo exhibitions include ICA, Philadelphia, USA (2015); OCA, Oslo, Norway (2015); AKW, Cologne, Germany (2014); and New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK (2011). Selected group exhibitions include the 12th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE (Recipients of the Sharjah Biennial Prize, 2015); 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea (2014) and 31st Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2014).