Bishouty is presenting two bodies of work in GTA21. The first, the film, Aḏrāʾ Samar, considers iconography and the production of identity in a transnational context. The work revisits moulds for objects made by Bishouty’s father for a souvenir shop in Amman, Jordan, during the 1990s. By reconstructing and repositioning these objects—in terms of material (ice), time, place and context—the work functions as an act of commemoration, while simultaneously rethinking the meanings inherent in these objects as sociopolitical and cultural icons. Originating from experiences of place and relocation, the work is a practice of reviving, reassembling and transforming images by means of evocation.
In dialogue with Aḏrāʾ Samar is a new installation created specifically for GTA21. Titled Permanent Collection, it’s an expansion on questions raised in Aḏrāʾ Samar. Bishouty positions a collection of sculptures as simultaneously on display and in a perpetual, timeless state of storage. The double-narrative of this installation tampers with the authority and structure of colonial museums, and considers how institutions frame space and historical objects—both literally and psychologically. Consider the wall dimensions painted at a slightly smaller scale, the hidden drawer that is both trick-of-the-eye and container—together, these elements speak to miniaturization, repetition, and the potential for authenticity and authorship through both means.
The entire installation pivots around a specific sculpture: a two-headed beast, part lion and part bull. Bishouty’s research into this particular artefact led to her discovery of a historical counterpart in the Cleveland Museum of Art, in Ohio, USA. Presented in miniature and displayed throughout the Museum, the two-headed creature encapsulates Bishouty’s desire to fracture our understanding of terms like origins, copy, or fake: constructs that are ultimately codependent and interchangeable.
Nour Bishouty was a fellow at the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut. Her work has been exhibited in such venues as Darat Al Funun, Amman; Access Gallery, Vancouver; the Beirut Art Centre; Casa Arabe, Madrid and Cordoba; and the Mosaic Rooms, London.
WORK IN GTA21:
Aḏrāʾ Samar, 2017
HD video sound colour, 14: 13 min
Permanent Collection, 2021
Wood, plexiglass, foam, clay, 3D printing, paint
Nour Bishouty is a multidisciplinary artist working across paper, sculpture, video, and writing. Her practice currently concerns the production of meaning and history, focusing on familial and material narratives in relation to place.