Mounir Fatmi’s work in video, installation, drawing, painting, and sculpture, examines human vulnerability and puts into the spotlight political, social and religious preconceptions and prejudices. He also often
probes different texts and types of communication, from verses of the Koran and mystical Sufi poetry to essays by Spinoza or novels by Salman Rushdie. The video installation History is Not Mine is a reaction to
an incident that took place during the 2012 Printemps de Septembre exhibition in Toulouse, which was entitled The History is Mine. Because some members of the Muslim community considered his work
Technologia (2010), which was being shown there, as being “blasphemous” his work was withdrawn from the festival. The video linked ancient circular Arabic calligraphy and Marcel Duchamp’s “rotoreliefs,” the first manifestations of optical art produced in the context of modern industrialized society.
History is Not Mine is motivated by his disillusion and is a response to the censorship the artist has suffered. The video shows someone desperately trying to write the title of the work on a typewriter,
using two hammers. The self-imposed difficulty and fury in the act of typing makes it impossible to achieve a readable result, making the disillusion and frustration visible. The work is a poignant comment
on how censorship is always exercised by force.
Who is Joseph Anton?, on the other hand, consists of a series of photomontages, superimposing three writer’s portraits: Joseph Conrad, Anton Chekhov and Salman Rushdie. The work is inspired by Joseph
Anton, the pseudonym used by Rushdie when hiding due to the fatwa imposed on him, combining the first names of Conrad and Chekhov, two of Rushdie’s favourite writers. Hovering between the intriguing
and the sinister, the work is a study on the difficulty of capturing a true portrait, on fugitive identities, and on the sacrifices that artists and intellectuals often have to make in order to exercise their freedom of