Runa Islam

Runa Islam
Runa Islam
First Day of Spring, 2005
16mm film with sound, 7 minutes
Produced by the Government Art Collection
Courtesy of Runa Islam and Jay Jopling/ White Cube (London)

Runa Islam (with Tobias Putrih)

Restless Subject

29/11/2008 – 25/01/2009

Museum Folkwang, Kahrstrasse 16, 45128 Essen, Germany

The Museum Folkwang, Essen is presenting the first German solo exhibition, entitled Restless Subject, of the artist Runa Islam, born in 1970 in Dhaka, Bangladesh and living in London. The medium of film is the center-point of her work.

The exhibition in the Museum Folkwang is taking place simultaneously with an exhibition in the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Museum Folkwang’s partner in this project, which shows the same selection under different spatial conditions. Both institutions commissioned a new production to the artist.

Apart from the new realized short film about an old photograph from the family album of the grandfather of the artist, the exhibition in Essen shows First Day of Spring (2005), an impressive cinematic group portrait of rickshaw drivers in Dhaka, Assault (2008), The house belongs to those who inhabit it (2008) as well as the double video projection Scale (1/16 inch = 1 foot) (2003). All works present different ways of the art of portrait in a wider sense.

For the film “The house belongs to those who inhabit it”, the Slovenian artist Tobias Putrih (*1972) has developed a specific installation at both venues, as part of the artists ongoing collaboration in 2008. Runa Islam has been nominated this year for the renowned “Turner Prize” and has participated in important international exhibitions such as “Manifesta 7″ in Trento.

Runa Islam deconstructs linear narrative patterns and passages of time, placing the act of seeing – both in the sense of regarding as in that of recognizing – in the center of her work. She is concerned to question cinematic illusions and to expose structures fundamental to our society, which are, however, not at first glance recognizable. Runa Islam’s films captivate with their sharp analysis and their poetry.

For the exhibition, Museum Folkwang brought out together with the Kunsthaus Zürich a monograph with an elaborated interview by Mirjam Varadinis of Runa Islam and a text by Sabine Maria Schmidt, 168 pages, german and english version, with numerous color illustrations, produced at Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Price: 28 Euro.

Curators: Sabine Maria Schmidt (Essen) and Mirjam Varadinis (Zürich)

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