From/To, Documenta Issue.”

Documenta11—The Tour


In 1991 in Artforum, Helmut Draxler wrote on an exhibition of Fareed Armaly: “(Thus) one ‘leitmotiv’ of Armaly is the transition from one condition to another—from an imaginary state to reality—which opens up a political access to art. . . Armaly has developed a method to discuss highly complex structures. . . Disparate means are rendered comparable by texts, film clips and a spatial arrangement which can be perceived by a visitor only through movement.”

This statement is still true eleven years later, although the political background referenced is much more virulent. As an American of Lebanese-Palestinian origin, Fareed Armaly takes as the subject of his documenta11 contribution the history of Palestine from its beginning until the present day. Inside of the Documentahall, he has developed a spatial organisation which proceeds from the shape of a digitized stone. For the artist, this stone represents a symbol for the world as well as for architecture, and, moreover, it is also a weapon. The title of his contribution From/To is inscribed on the wireframe and refers simultaneously to a number of possible approaches to what is represented here. The work has been rendered in the first version in 1999 under the condition of a possible peace process. The actualized version has to take into consideration the breakup of negotiations and even war. This becomes clear by way of a detail. From/To is not only a single artist’s work but developed in collaboration with a number of different participants, among them Rashid Masharawi, a Palestinian filmmaker. He operates as the artist’s link to a Palestine as it is represented now in the mass media, and the actual Palestine—this because Rashid Masharawi was born in Palestine and still lives there. The one-hour film Checkpoint allows for the viewer to watch how Israel closes down a checkpoint. The movement from the imaginary to reality is taking place.