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Good Morning Babylon

If you take away a people’s history, what are they left with?
Dictator Saddam Hussein, in an awkward measure, had a reproduction of the famous Ishtar Gate constructed as a museum entrance; it was an act that intended unfortunately, yet again, to celebrate, not the beauty of art and the meaning of culture, but his own personal magnificence and to create a link between his figure as father of the country and the glorious past of the region. Is it possible to survive without memory?
Al Fadhil (a cosmopolitan artist) will try to respond to this classical question in what he considers the most suitable way, personally taking part in a significant act, a public act: to stand (on your feet in one place) with his hands crossed on his chest, in front of the Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. It is a minimal and simple act, practically banal, and yet full of meaning and pathos.
Al Fadhil, in assuming the traditional position of the deities of Mesopotamia, the artist’s land of origin, carries out an act of gratitude and of devotion towards the lands where the first civilizations were born, while at the same time he tries to awaken a process of awareness through an act of creative “resistance”. By “standing in place”, and with a minimum of psychological projection of his emotional state, he invites us to make a profound reflection upon the huge disaster and devastation that has fallen upon Iraq since the official invasion that began on 9 April 2003, with the military occupation of the capital, Baghdad. In balancing the clandestine nature of the event and the official nature of the institution, a dialectic that has distinguished the artist in various actions over the last few years, Al Fadhil proposes a performance that borders upon the clandestine, a choice that allows him.
Museum Pergamon, Berlin, 2010


Full spec

Video HD, Video stills
Merz, Kevin
Dokumentation einer Performance/Aktion / Documentation of a performance/action
Museum Pergamon, Berlin
Video 16:9