Bisan Abu-Eisheh
Born in 1985 in Jerusalem (Israel).
Lives in Jerusalem and London (Great Britain).
"Love Speech", 2014
Two-channel video, color, sound, 20:17 min.
Courtesy of the artist
This work by Palestinian artist Bisan Abu-Eisheh is based on the letters his father sent from Israeli prison in 1980-1984, where he was incarcerated for taking part for taking part in Palestinian liberation front. Most of these letters were addressed to Latifa Idris – his future wife and the mother of the artist, whom he had met during his student years in Beirut. They are, in fact, love letters, although besides declarations of love they contain descriptions of prison life, worry for parents and friends. The repeated usage of "comrade Latifa", retelling of ideas and mentions of books on political economy reveal the communist beliefs of the author. Nonetheless, on the first screen the father of the artist, dressed in a formal suit, reads one of these letters into a microphone from a tribune, speaking words of love as a professional politician. One might ask what could two seemingly opposing types of speech, political and love, have in common? In reality they are linked by the unifying declarative character they possess, as noticed by French philosopher Alain Badiou. A love confession fixes the randomness of the encounter and becomes the start of a relationship. And just as in politics, love "is about uttering a word the effects of which, in existence, can be almost infinite". However, love-related in content and political in form, the speech in the work of Bisan Abu-Eisheh is spoken in the absence of an audience. This artistic device reveals the studied professionalism and empty rhetoric of political speech today, juxtaposing it to the texts of letters that speak of love, belief and hope that should become the basis of politics. Because politics, as Max Weber wrote, is a calling, not a profession, and so is identical to love.
artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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