Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII-X
Karthik Pandian & Andros Zins-Browne with Zakaria Almoutlak
October 10 – November 3, 2019
Thursdays – Saturdays 4–8pm & Sundays 2–6pm
Conversation between writer Aruna D’Souza and art historian Matthew Jesse Jackson
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII-X is an exhibition which renders the life of Zakaria Almoutlak, a Syrian sculptor and refugee currently living in Belgium, through sculpture and vocal performance. Artist Karthik Pandian and choreographer Andros Zins-Browne have been working with Almoutlak since 2017, incorporating fragments of his rich and complicated life story into previous exhibitions in Belgium (Netwerk Aalst, Precarious Pavilions, 2018) and Chicago (Logan Center Exhibitions, 2018).
In this final iteration of the project, Pandian and Zins-Browne invite visitors to 80WSE to experience an ongoing duet by acclaimed vocalists Ganavya Doraiswamy and Aliana de la Guardia. Filtered through the respective South Indian and Western operatic vocal traditions that Doraiswamy and de la Guardia are trained in, the two vocalists will sing Zakaria’s narrative in the gallery for the run of the show. The stories oscillate between the textures of an artist’s life in, and fleeing from, a country ripped apart by civil war, and an abstraction that evokes Almoutlak’s absence in the exhibition itself. Despite the 2018 travel ban, which forbids entry by Syrian nationals into the U.S., Almoutlak will participate in the exhibition by commenting on the performance on Instagram live; the singers in turn will incorporate his comments into their songs, creating a live, virtual, feedback loop.
Acts VII-X are performed within a mise-en-scène of sculptures in limestone and wood, patchwork theatrical backdrops and carved screens, several of which have been destroyed, conserved, or which will undergo transformation during the four weeks of the exhibition.
Atlas Unlimited: Acts VII-X is made possible by the generous support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Follow the project and watch live-streamed performances on Instagram @atlasunltd