19 novembre 1938

Rainer Ganahl, 19 novembre 1938

Rainer Ganahl, 19 novembre 1938

19 novembre 1938 by Rainer Ganahl was made in Albisola in 2001 during the 1st Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary Art “The Happy Face of Globalization” and was also presented at the exhibition “Artist's Ceramics”, Ariana Museum, Geneva, 2002.

Iraq dialogues

Rainer Ganahl (in collaboration with Ghazi Al Delaimi), Iraq dialogues  1

Rainer Ganahl (in collaboration with Ghazi Al Delaimi), Iraq dialogues  2

Rainer Ganahl (in collaboration with Ghazi Al Delaimi), Iraq dialogues  3

Rainer Ganahl (in collaboration with Ghazi Al Delaimi), Iraq dialogues  4

Rainer Ganahl (in collaboration with Ghazi Al Delaimi), Iraq dialogues  5

Iraq dialogues

My concept for this body of work consists of the exchange of ideas and opinions regarding the Iraq crisis with a group of Iraqi expatriates and/or refugees living in Northern Europe. Conceptually, this project is similar to an ongoing dialog I try to maintain with people from Afghanistan/Pakistan and it also resembles other projects in which I try to create a dialog platform to express other people’s thinking and feelings and about politics and  personal and collective history (see: ganahl.info).
The way the idea for my Iraq dialogs works is as follows: initially I’m creating my own personal “war archive” with dominant U.S. TV news material concerning the current Iraq crisis. Secondly, I’m isolating logos, titles, subtitles and other interface elements from this footage. Thirdly, I am looking for Iraqi people who are willing to participate in this work and asking them to respond to this material: “Next Target? Heavy Bombing, Operation Freedom Iraq, etc.” Fourthly: the results are painted on ceramic tiles after some preparatory work is done. I do some of the graphic elements, while others are painted with the help of assistants trained in graphic illustration. The Arabic calligraphy is prepared by computer and/or by my dialog partners. Firing the tiles completes the process.
So far, I have been working with various Iraqi-born emigrants living in Vienna, Utrecht, Bremen and Düsseldorf. Now, in the aftermath of the war, I am also trying to go to Baghdad and complete this series there. Each person has his/her own history, opinion and position on political issues and the media. Encouraging my partners to express themselves with regards to their relationship to powerful media interfaces is the main part of my conceptual goal.
In many cases, these logos and textual media landscapes characterizing U.S. news broadcasts are very confrontational, aggressive and opinionated if not downright cynical, arrogant and scary: “Next Target, Showdown Iraq, Would us Use Nukes”? and so on. These elements are selling, branding, justifying and authenticating the news and, in this case, the war. I am thus interested in de- and re-contextualizing them, using them to help people directly affected by this confrontation to write back.
For the set of Iraq Dialogs made in the ceramics studios in Albisola, I have collaborated with Ghazi Al Delaimi who I found through the German-Arabic Society. Al Delaimi was born in Baghdad but has been living in Düsseldorf for many years. He has been working as a calligrapher and graphic designer and as an artist. Over several weeks we exchanged images I placed on my web site for him to which he would respond with his own words and his own calligraphic layout.
All the sentences written in Arabic are entirely conceived by Ghazi Al Delaimi and do not reflect any input by me. In no way did I try to influence or censor his responses. These are entirely Ghazi’s views and statements. While I personally share with Ghazi a firm opposition to war with Iraq and an unequivocal rejection of any neo-colonial attitudes and USA unilateralism, Ghazi Al Delaimi's words are his own and not mine. As an Austrian and as an American citizen, I also oppose any indiscriminate Anti-Americanism. I try to make a distinction between this current semi-legitimate administration, with its troublesome domestic policies and its foreign policies violating international laws and the USA as a whole.

Rainer Ganahl

Until very recently I had worked with all sorts of materials in my paintings and objects, but not ceramics. I had, however, always wished to create a piece of art in ceramics and to follow its creation from sketch to final product.
The collective project with Rainer Ganahl and the Studio Ernan Design in Albisola offered an excellent opportunity for me to realise one of my long-held dreams and to enjoy and greatly appreciate a new and fascinating experience.

Ghazi Al Delaimi

Iraq dialogues by Rainer Ganahl was made in Albisola in 2003 during the 2nd Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary Art.

Conference proceedings Local ceramic traditions and the globalisation of contemporary art