Oreet Ashery and Larissa Sansour, two of the most highly respected performance and film practitioners on the world art circuit will combine forces at Tate Modern
on the 25th of November in an event which is set to be one of the highlights of 2009.
Separately Ashery and Sansour are well known for engaging with the politics of the Middle East. Both artists share similar pasts. Both were born in Jerusalem and grew up in Palestine and Israel, respectively, before emigrating to the UK. Far from being impenetrable the work of both artists uses humor and makes references to popular culture in order to examine contentious issues.
Oreet Ashery is no stranger to controversy, interested in notions of subjectivity and authenticity, she frequently produces work disguised as a male character. These have included; an orthodox Jewish man, an Arab man, a black man, a Norwegian postman, a large farmer and most recently a false messiah based on the historical figure of Shabbtai Sevi. Asherys practice operates within an anti-occupation remit and in support of the Palestinian Right to Return. It analyses and breaks down Zionist narratives and issues relating to Jewishness as a cultural material.
Larissa Sansour borrows heavily from the language of film and pop culture. By approximating the nature, reality and complexity of life in Palestine and the Middle East to visual forms normally associated with entertainment and watching television, her elaborate and often humorous schemes clash with the gravity expected from works commenting on the region. References and details ranging from sci-fi and spaghetti westerns to horror films converge with Middle East politics and social issues to create intricate parallel universes in which a new value system can be decoded.
This Tate Modern event also marks the UK launch of a new experimental graphic novel by Ashery and Sansour entitled "The Novel of Nonel and Vovel" (Charta, 2009, text by Sĝren Lind, Nat Muller, Oreet Ashery, Larissa Sansour).
"The Novel of Nonel and Vovel", examines critical strategies of resistance to the occupation of Palestine, tackling issues such as terminology, artistic choices and the demand for a cultural boycott of Israel. "The Novel of Nonel and Vovel" presents a bold mixture of art and politics.