Jumana Manna's first solo show in Sweden opens at Malmö Konsthall

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Jumana Manna's first solo show in Sweden opens at Malmö Konsthall
Jumana Manna, Installation view. A magical substance flows into me, Malmö Konsthall 2016. Courtesy the artist and CRG Gallery (New York). Photo: Robin Eriksson.

MALMO.- Malmö Konsthall presents Jumana Manna’s first solo show in Sweden. In her sculptures and moving-image works, the Berlin- and Jerusalem-based artist addresses issues such as nationalism, the construction of communities, and the body’s relation to specific histories of place.

The centrepiece of her exhibition is the feature-length film, A magical substance flows into me (2015), which draws on the radio program Oriental Music, made in 1936-37 for the Palestine Broadcasting Service by the German-Jewish ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann. To realise her film, Manna travelled across Palestine/Israel to meet the groups Lachmann had studied, playing his recordings and making new ones of her own. Her exchanges with Kurdish, Moroccan, and Yemenite Jews, Samaritans, members of urban and rural Palestinian communities, Bedouins, and Coptic Christians in their homes and places of work and worship are interspersed with scenes of her parents in her family home in East Jerusalem, entangling the artist in the complex history of her hometown. The film explores the complexities embedded in language, as well as desire and the aural set against the notion of impossibility. It attempts to disassemble false binaries and challenge the logic of partition and segregation, as well as the colonial discourses underpinning them. Manna seeks, instead, to address the question of Palestine through the lens of 1948 and its consequences, while calling for a multifaceted Palestine, reimagined through the possibilities of sound and listening.

In the corridor is a new, site-specific installation consisting of a series of small-scale sculptures perched on a stage-like construction. These objects evoke vases, bodily fragments or archaeological findings and resonate with the musical performances in the film. As Manna stated in a recent interview: “When you hear something you have to understand it because […] it’s becoming a part of you. Listening collapses the division of self and other, or of singular and plural, or inside and outside. […] This idea of the body as a medium and as a place of resonance has been something that has followed me throughout the making of these works. The sculptures are vessels, similar to our bodies, that may be filled with fluids, air or sound; sound is taking place in space but is also spreading within us.” Read the entire interview made by Chisenhale Gallery.

The film A magical substance flows into me is co-commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation and Chisenhale Gallery with Malmö Konsthall and the 2016 Biennale of Sydney.

Curator: Diana Baldon

Jumana Manna (b. 1987) lives and works in Berlin and Jerusalem. Selected exhibitions include A magical substance flows into me, Chisenhale Gallery, London; Aftercinema, Beirut Art Center; Doubt of the Stage Prompter, Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg (all 2015); Menace of Origins, SculptureCenter, New York (2014); The Goodness Regime, Kunsthall Oslo; and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (both 2013). She has participated in Meeting Points 7 (2013–a4); the Sharjah Biennal 11; Performa 13, New York; the Norwegian Short Film Festival, Grimstad; the London Palestine Film Festival; and the International Film Festival, Rotterdam (all 2013). In 2012, Manna received the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year Award (first prize).

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