Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (b.1983) work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Their practice probes a contemporary landscape marked by seemingly perpetual crisis and an endless ‘present’, one that is increasingly shaped by a politics of desire and disaster. They have been developing a body of work that questions this suspension of the present and searches for ways in which an altogether different imaginary can emerge. In their projects, they find themselves excavating, activating and inventing incidental narratives, figures, gestures and sites as material for re-imagining the possibilities of the present.
Often reflecting on the idea of returns, amnesia and deja vu, and in the process unfolding the slippages between actuality and projection (fiction, myth, wish), what is and what could be. Their practice, largely research based, frequently investigates the spatio-temporal resonances of seemingly disparate moments. Overwhelmingly their approach has been one of sampling materials (both existing and self-authored) in the form of sound, image, text, objects and recasting them into altogether new ‘scripts’. The result is a practice that investigates the visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multi-media installations and live sound/image performances.
They have had solo presentations at ICA (Philadelphia), Office for Contemporary Art (Oslo), Carroll/Fletcher (London), Akademie Der Kuenste Der Welt (Cologne), New Art Exchange (Nottingham), Delfina Foundation (London) and group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), Museum Of Modern Art (Warsaw), ICA (London), the 12th Sharjah Biennale, the 31st São Paulo Biennial; the 10th Gwangju Biennale; the 13th Istanbul Biennial; the 6th Jerusalem Show; HomeWorks 5 (Beirut); , and Palestine c/o Venice at the 53rd Venice Biennale.
They have held performances at The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), House of World Culture (Berlin),Tanzquartier (Vienna,),Serpentine Pavilion (London), 4th Guangzhou Triennial (Guangzhou), TBA21 (Vienna), De Balie (Amsterdam),Beirut Art Centre (Beirut), Danish Film Institute (Copenhagen) and CCA (Glasgow).
They were fellows at Akademie der Kunste der Welt in Cologne in 2013 and artists in residence at the Delfina Foundation, London in 2009. They are recipients of the Sharjah Biennale Prize in 2015 and The Abraaj Prize in 2016. In 2017 they will be presenting solo exhibitions in Istanbul and Hamburg, and publishing a book with Printed Matter in New York.