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Ready to Go Exhibition 2013

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Ready to Go Exhibition 2013

Ready to Go Exhibition 2013


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أتشرف بدعوتكم لحضور افتتاح معرضى ” مستعد للرحيل “

 يوم الخميس الموافق ٢٠ يونيو في تمام الخامسة مساءً

المعرض مستمر يومياً من الساعة ٤ مساءً وحتى الساعة١٠ مساءً وينتهي يوم ٢٧

المعرض يدور ضمن فعاليات مهرجان PPP للعروض الحركية بمبني PROGR وسط مدينة بيرن، سويسرا

برنامج المعرض

يوم ٢٠ يونيو ، الساعة ٥ مساءً: عرض حركى موسيقى  بقاعة العرض الكبرى في الطابق الثانى.

يوم ٢٧ يونيو ، الساعة  ٦ مساءً: عرض حركى موسيقى  بقاعة العرض الكبرى في الطابق الثانى

من يوم ٢٠ الى ٢٧ يونيو: اعمال نحتية مركبة بقاعة نوربيرت بالدور الارضى.

I have the honor to invite you to attend the opening of my exhibition

“Ready To GO” on Thursday, June 20 at 17:00 pm

Exhibition continues daily from 4 pm to 10 pm and ends on 27. June

The exhibition events will take part within the PPP Performance / Art Festival in PROGR culture center, Bern, Switzerland

Exhibition program

On June 20, 17:00 pm: “Ready to Go”  performance in the Aula hall on the PROGR 2nd floor

On June 27, 18:00 pm: “Ready to Go”  performance in the Aula hall on the PROGR 2nd floor

From day 20 to June 27: sculpture and installation are exhibited in Norbert Atelier

in PROGR’s ground floor.

STIFTUNG PROGR

Zentrum für Kulturproduktion
Waisenhausplatz 30
3011 Bern

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Analytical & Critic text by Art critic: Fatma Ali

part of the under-publishing book “Sameh Al Tawil – the monograph” 2024

Ready to Go
Ready to Go live performance 2024

Ready to Go 1

2013 – 2015

Duration: 12 minutes and 2 seconds

Live musical performance – Compound theatrical work – Produced and exhibited at PROGR Gallery, Bern, Switzerland, 2013.
Film photo and documentary shots were captured with a Canon 5D camera.

A photo from the live performance video of the first installment of the “Ready to Go” project – featuring Sameh Al Tawil on piano – at PROGR Gallery in Bern, Switzerland, 2013.

Technology/s:

The technique involved in this performance was a live kinetic musical performance lasting 12 minutes and 2 seconds. It was more akin to a theatrical performance between a musician and a piano. It was produced and presented in Bern, Switzerland, from June 20 to 27, 2013, as part of the resident artist program.

The performance was captured using a stationary Canon 5D camera. The work combined performance and spatial installation in an interactive traditional setting, accompanied by the artist’s musical composition.

Concept of the work:

The concept of the work revolves around the symbolic representation of the personal notion of departure from a place, even though the entire performance is confined to the space. It symbolizes a spiritual Emigration with the piano as a vehicle. The work transforms from a “performative performance” to an “installational composition” before our eyes. The performance is considered a form of self-centered art, as demonstrated by the rhythmic movement of the artist’s legs towards the end of the presentation. The artist’s body serves as a tool for artistic exploration and for exploring the relationship between music and visual art, bridging the auditory and visual realms.

Exhibition format:

The performance unfolds as “Al Tawil” plays the piano, two men approach to envelop both the pianist and the instrument with transparent plastic wrap, gradually transforming the presentation from a “performance” into an “installation” before our eyes. This wrapping of the pianist and the piano appeared as a packaging of the music and its containment. The use of plastic wrap was both conceptually and performatively exquisite, resembling a form of restraint, akin to handcuffs, as seen in “Al Tawil’s” work titled “Solo Performance”. In both instances, there was a sense of constraint, and the plastic wrap acted as a hindrance, yet the music continued unabated.

What’s intriguing is that despite the wrapping process, the artist continued to play until the end, and the intensity of his performance never waned throughout the wrapping process. Even as the wrapping was completed, the musician’s head and shoulders remained animated from within the transparent encasement, still emoting with the music. His left foot tapped the ground slowly, maintaining its rhythm, as if it were the pulse of life within that plastic cocoon.

The wrapping of the pianist and his music within their transparent sheaths proceeded smoothly, without resistance from the musician, as he was already immersed in his music, preparing for departure. He concludes with a live moment of music for himself before departing, hence his composition lacked a definitive conclusion. Perhaps it’s an extended autobiographical narrative, a memory that “Al Tawil” seeks to preserve, mentally sketching a perceptible visual tableau within the space of the room, both empty and filled at once.

During the performance, the artist and the piano transformed, becoming part of a tightly constructed installation uniting them together, their music encapsulated within a singular sculptural entity within the space of the performance room, visible from multiple angles. It appeared as a holographic embodiment or a three-dimensional visual representation, filling the space of the room like a container for the musical installation. This form of containment seems like a different way of thinking about the performance scene within the object, maintaining its performative aspect despite the transformations brought about by the wrapping process.

The most significant impact was not in expressing the musician’s emotions, but rather in the music itself resisting the wrapping to achieve sonic pathways that enveloped the space, reinforcing the idea of continuity.

The artist describes his piano composition

As improvisational, a musical blend of his own composition with interpretations of specific pieces that hold various meanings for him, such as the call to prayer, national anthems, and a rendition of a segment from the song ” The coffee fortune-teller” (Qariat al-Fingan) by Al Mougy, accompanied by Iranian and Algerian music. The piano is his preferred tool for expressing himself freely and spontaneously, akin to reciting free verse poetry or delivering a speech, where he may cite a verse or a proverb and reminisce or poke fun at certain matters. Each time he performs, he presents a different improvised piece under the project name “Ready to Go” along with the year of its performance.

A photo from the live performance video of the first installment of the “Ready to Go” project – featuring Sameh Al Tawil on piano – Special Performance – Cairo, Egypt, 2023.

Analysis of the work:

While the detailed visual composition of the artist and the piano gradually fade from our sight, symbolizing their gradual departure and exit from the space, the music does not vanish or cease its expansion. The artwork reflects the musician’s actions with the music in a self-imposed immersive confinement, integrating the piano and the human body materially. Perhaps this desire for unity between the object and the self has transformed the musical scene into a structural condition within the walls of the room, resembling Plato’s cave where movements of passersby outside are projected on its walls while the inhabitants remain still, akin to the artist and his instrument in self-imposed confinement within the space.

The wrapping up and packing of the music in preparation for departure transforms the conveyance of the artwork into conceptual thought. “Al Tawil” has created his own conceptual wrapping that differs from the language of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. To wrap the moments, he envelops his music conceptually, while his left foot strikes the ground with its materiality, producing intermittent rhythm.

It’s as if the music in this scene leads the body, and the body follows, allowing us to see and follow the unseen. What’s intriguing is that the artist, the musician, has become himself a part of the unseen, both as a performer and as an envelope, without isolating his music.

Ready to Go 2

2013 – 2015

Duration of the documentary video of the exhibition: 2 minutes and 30 seconds

Installation: A car compound work – sculptures made from luggage and pre-made elements wrapped in transparent plastic strips similar to those used for food preservation

Displayed in the courtyard and exhibition hall of the PROGR Gallery in Bern, Switzerland.

A photo from the mixed-media installation “Ready to Go” – at the exhibition courtyard of PROGR Gallery in Bern, Switzerland, 2013.

Technology/s:

An outdoor mixed-media installation consisting of a car and household and personal items piled up and wrapped on top of the roof of a mobile vehicle. Part of this project was executed in Switzerland.

Concept of the work:

The artwork explores how human belongings represent one’s visual self-portrait and the extent to which the installation can interact in a new open environment. It also raises ideas about the formation of identity in new cultural environments, enveloped in memory with limited artistic maneuvering space.

Exhibition format:

The scene depicts an unmanned car loaded with personal belongings and household consumer symbols on its roof. North African and Egyptian music fills the space, emanating from inside the car, with the sound coming out of the two megaphones mounted atop the car. The car stands in an unremarkable location, with the belongings dominating the view in an open space. The car itself may have traveled from one place to another, where it was filmed with items representing another identity, becoming part of the installation, and symbolizing the artist’s past. It becomes a visible embodiment of his memories in a dynamic performance moving on wheels, where his memory plays the role of the protagonist in the present.

In the documentary video, the camera moves around the stationary car, as if the idea of departure is halted despite the preparations being complete. The significance of the “Ready to Go” project in its two parts lies in its portrayal of a personal experience of an immigrant soul accompanied by his wife and children, grappling with the idea of leaving. His belongings and personal items are treated as if they carry memories of places and times, much like how he takes his family with him before pondering whether he is truly Ready to Go.

AL Tawil Says:

“The feedback from my close friends and acquaintances was that my project presented an inverse vision, revealing that I was actually hesitating to gather myself, and it seems that I am not yet Ready to Go”.

In the exhibition “Ready to Go 2”, the artist relied on the movement of the external environment through sculptures and composite installations of a car topped with a tower of personal belongings and pre-prepared symbols, stacked as sculptural pieces enveloped in transparent adhesive and plastic, revealing not so much their contents as the spirit of departure. Occupying a large space, they functioned as a sculptural form in space, testing the external space as a sculptural form, displayed outside its homeland as mobile belongings within a framework resembling Egyptian practices in the neighborhoods, which have their intimacy unlike what may seem to be mere remnants of decay that derive their value from their connection to humans.

The artist invoked these objects to preserve his memory, providing a means for their mobility from one place to another, serving as symbols of displacement or “departure”, establishing atop them a tower of memories. These include childhood toys, a prayer rug reminding him of his religion and culture, blankets for warmth, a megaphone symbolizing communication in his new world, and a radio for catching up on news from his homeland on the other side, among much else that he preserves to maintain his memory. With this tower above the cart, it began to move slowly around the perimeter of the gallery site, solely to document this mobile sculptural installation along with the movement of the car.

Analysis of the work:

Perhaps “Al Tawil” intended in his departure from his country and memories to represent the personal world as a constantly changing installation in its performance and form, yet not subject to loss but rather susceptible to completion. Through his interaction with his new environment, where he accomplished a work unrelated to its culture or identity, his goal may have been to prompt viewers to contemplate their affiliations by tracking the movement of the block of memories with its belongings between different realities and concepts of belonging. Although he created installations, things disappear as individual entities once dismantled from the top of a car carrying the identities and lives of others. The presence of the car may reveal the relative mobility resembling the Emigration of place and identity from one distant location to another, like continents.

The work intensified the sense of dealing intimately with the artist’s homeland, attempting to convey a cultural and social reality of his city, accumulated with its belongings, its own time, and its auditory and visual influences. It inspires a lively interpretation of the African city of Cairo within the European city of Munich, capturing the spirit, reality, and pulse of the place without explanatory justifications. Perhaps the sculptural packaging of his things implies that his previous mental merchandise is not finished but well-preserved and physically wrapped for mobility purposes in the place, just like the car carrying his identity, belongings, and tools securely wrapped for travel reasons.

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