September 2019

22Sep(Sep 22)11:0024Nov(Nov 24)17:00Monira Al QadiriKunstverein Göttingen im Alten Rathaus

Kunstverein Göttingen presents, “Empire Dye”, the first comprehensive solo exhibition of Monira Al Qadiri in Germany. “Empire Dye” uses the ocean as a metaphorical link and starting point, in order to look at the inevitable end of human rule over the material riches of the earth, from a futuristic perspective.

The exhibition at the Old Town Hall in Göttingen shows sculptures and video works, in which Al Qadiri aesthetically and narratively combines motifs from the oceanic world with the history of oil. For many centuries, the economy of the coastal regions of the Gulf States was based on decorative pearls; the artist’s own grandfather also worked as a singer on a pearl fishing boat. The regional cultural identity shaped by the pearls was almost forgotten following the discovery of oil and the subsequent abrupt economic developments of the twentieth century. Al Qadiri compares the immeasurable impact of oil on cultural heritage, society and memories of the region, with an alien invasion from space. The artist creates both fantastic and critical images of a special radiance, in which she succeeds in extracting alternative readings of reality from the contradictions.

The iridescent color spectra that aesthetically connects the pearls with the oil, give the artist a way to combine the two historical ways of thinking, each shaped by the dominant economy and thereby also risk a look into the future. The color violet plays a special part here: Whilst it was originally regarded as a particularly valuable and above all royal color, due to its costly extraction, it nowadays represents the color of the oil industry’s greatest disaster. The violet alert light only flashes then when the highest danger level has been reached – thus, when it is actually too late. The artist uses this color to describe the state of human life in the world –an alert state in which human’s interaction with the environment falls back on them.

Monira Al Qadiri (*1983) is a Kuwaiti visual artist, born in Senegal, with an education in Japan. In 2010, she received a PhD in Inter-media Arts from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle East through poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petrocultures and their possible futures, as well as legacies of corruption. She is currently based in Berlin.

Al Qadiri has had solo exhibitions at CIRCL Pavillon, Amsterdam (2018), Sursock Museum, Beirut (2017); Gasworks, London (2017); Stroom Den Haag, Den Haag (2017); and Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan (2009). Her participation in international group exhibitions include shows at Forum Expanded at the Berlinale, Berlin (2019), the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (2018); 6th Athens Biennial, Athens (2018); Lulea Biennial, Sweden (2018); Festival of Contemporary Art Sesc_Videobrasil, Sao Paulo (2017); Palazzo Franchetti San Marco, Venice (2017); Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016); NYU Abu Dhabi (2016). She was a nominee for the Future Generation Art Prize 2019.


Funded by:
Stiftung Niedersachsen
Nierdersächsische Sparkassenstiftung
Sparkasse Göttingen
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur
Stadt Göttingen
Lanschaftsverband Südniedersachsen e.V.


22. September (Sonntag) - 24. November (Sonntag)


Kunstverein Göttingen im Alten Rathaus

Markt 9 | 37073 Göttingen


Tuesday – Sunday
11am – 5pm