Céline Condorelli + Uriel Orlow’s “There is nothing left” at Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum

9 December 2011–12 January 2012

8 December, 7pm

Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF)
10 Hussein Hassab Street, Flat 6, Azarita
Alexandria, Egypt
3–8 pm daily except Fridays (closed)

T +20 (0)3 48 31 643


In “There is nothing left” different works by Céline Condorelli and Uriel Orlow are in dialogue with each other in a new multi-part installation.

“There is nothing left” explores blind spots, unexpected epilogues and disappearances in the grand narratives of history; it starts from Alexandria and the Suez canal in twentieth century Egypt. A series of installations engage with the constitutive movements affecting time and space: movements of people and goods, the flow of capital, political movements, removal of statues (and regimes) and migrating species.

The exhibition is accompanied by an artist book, Terrains Vagues/ محادثات /Persistent Images designed by Sophie Demay and Lola Halifa-Legrand; it includes interviews with Bassam El Baroni, Marianne Hultman, Jean-Marie Straub, and a text by Gilane Tawadros.

Céline Condorelli: “We know that story-telling, misreading or errors can produce real historical events. And in some way, as an artist, I am implicated in forging documents, devising utopias, and constructing imaginary schemes about the future, and in this way I actively participate in the production of the real. The project is not so much a fictionalized version of real events, than a narrative, a construct, enabling a different understanding of history and the re-imagination of possible futures.”

Uriel Orlow: “This means that history is up for grabs—it doesn’t have to be related to as a truth that is neatly re-inserted into a historical chronology. Instead, the imaginary, evocative potential of a minor event, forgotten in the twilight of history, connects to a whole host of associative chains and appears extra-ordinary, almost mythical. The work itself is articulated through fragments, shards of research, reconstructions and hallucinations: images and text beyond the dichotomy of fact and fiction.”

CC: “A series of pieces, then, are ordered into movements, as in a piece of music: the First movement deals with the cotton industry and the mass departures from Egypt of the 1950s. The Second movement is concerned with the literal removal, disappearance and transformations of landmarks in a city. And finally the last movement is that of revolution, taking its cue from the 1981 film Trop tôt, trop tard by Straub-Huillet that now appears to be almost prophetic.”

UO: “And other kinds of movement or stoppages: the stranded cargo ships, trapped in the Suez Canal for eight years, while below maritime species continue their migration from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, and finally different versions of the removal of Lesseps’ statue when the canal was nationalised, all carrying a latency of meaning that is consonant with different versions of liberation and is tied to the historical present.”

CC: “Everything starts with a sentence “Il n’y a plus rien” [There is nothing left], that keeps appearing like a refrain in a multitude of voices describing the city of Alexandria; the work explores the narratives hidden by this blanketing of reality, and follows its echo back to the multiple occupations of Egypt.”

“Il n’y a plus Rien” by Condorelli started at Manifesta 8, Murcia, and the first iteration of the overall project is at ACAF, Alexandria, curated by Bassam El Baroni. The publication is developed in collaboration with Oslo Fine Art Society /Oslo Kunstforening, where a different version of the exhibition will be exhibited in March 2012, curated by Marianne Hultman. The Project is Supported by Pro Helvetia, The Swiss Arts Council, Cairo.


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