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of FATMI Mounir

FRANCE, 2012, 00:11:10

Production : FATMI Mounir
Genre : Video art
Keyword : Allegory, Time, Homage

Summary :

Begun in 2005, Sleep Al Naim is a work of fiction in black and white showing a man sleeping peacefully, his bare chest heaving and falling to the rhythm of his breathing.

The video lasts 6 hours. Mounir Fatmi has chosen to represent a contemporary icon, the writer Salman Rushdie. The film borrows its imagery from the film "Sleep", in direct reference to Andy Warhol’s minimalist pop experimental film in 1963, it shows 6 hours continuous image of the poet John Giorno sleeping.

John Giorno sleeping in front of Warhol’s camera, in its literary context and controversy, is necessary and paradoxical. Sleep Al Naim suggests the ambivalence of a physical abandonment, quiet and calm. Considering the threats to his life since the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses” in 1988, drifting off to sleep is a way for Salman Rushdie to put himself in a vulnerable position. But at the same time, this moment of unconsciousness expresses strength and confidence: the sleep of the just.

For the artist, it is the creation of a face, a body, a presence, and certain goodness in the action. Creating from scratch the character of Salman Rushdie and staging the sleeping. Associate the own breathing body of the writer.

After trying in vain to contact Rushdie for the purpose of the project, Mounir Fatmi has decided to use digital technology in 3D. A first phase of research began during his residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 2005. This phase was to find the maximum images of the writer, front, left and right profile at different time of his life.

A second phase of work involved the shaping of the face, body, accessories and decor of the room.

The third phase and the longest was the animation, the choice of different cameras angles, lighting and calibration of the film.

And finally the last stage was to record the breathing of the artist and make a soundtrack based directly on the animation of writer’s body.

Ironically, once the film was completed in 2012, a friendly meeting between the two men took place at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, thanks to the director who arranged a meeting on the occassion of Rushdie’s appearance there for the release of his autobiography,“Joseph Anton”. Following this meeting Mounir Fatmi prepared a lengthy interview with the writer of "The Satanic Verses" to publish a book under the title of Sleep.

Now in France, "Sleep " is a case.The video, originally scheduled in the exhibition "25 years of Arab creativity" celebrating the creation of the Institute of the Arab World in Paris, was withdrawn by the organizers. In this exhibition, the even virtual representation of Salman Rushdie was considered too sensitive to be shown to the Middle East and other Arab countries.This censorship from an established cultural institution has caused consternation in the media and questions the freedom to create in France. Especially as it comes after another censorship Mounir Fatmi has suffered a few days earlier at the Printemps de Septembre in Toulouse, another French cultural event, sponsored by the State and famous private foundations.
Many journalists have relayed the information and raised the debate in the press, TV and radio broadcasts.

puce to print

Original language : _wordless
Original format : video
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Chroma : Noir&Blanc
Available version(s) : Sans paroles.

rental : 120 euros

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