Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2010

Rabih Mroué

RabihMroué
Photo by Lina Gheibeh.

... The grant has allowed me great freedom and concentration in pursuing projects that I had been developing and focusing on for the last couple of years...

- Rabih Mroué, December 12, 2010

Biography

Rabih Mroué is an actor, director, and playwright who creates plays, performances, and videos. His work confronts traditional notions of theatre and examines how the performer relates to the audience within a non-traditional atmosphere. His works deal with issues that have been ignored in the current political climate of Lebanon, which has even caused the country to censor his work. How Nancy Wished That Everything was an April Fool's Joke––a work that presents an episodic history of Lebanon's fifteen-year civil war through the experiences of four fighters who served in different militias––was censored by the country in 2007. He draws attention to the broader political and economic contexts by means of a semi-documentary theatre.

In 2010, Mroué had his first solo exhibition, I, the Undersigned at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands, with the support of his 2010 Grants to Artists award. In addition to his work in theater and performance, Mroué has shown exhibitions of film and visual art at galleries, museums, and biennials subsequent to his 2010 FCA grant, including Galerie Tranzitdisplay, Prague (2011); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2013); and the International Center of Photography Triennial (2013).

Select performances by Mroué prior to his 2010 FCA grant include Yesterday's Man (2007), a performance in collaboration with Tony Chakar and Tiago Rodrigues that premiered at La Merce, Girona, Spain; Theater with dirty feet (2008), which premiered at HAU 2, Hebbel-Theater, Berlin; The inhabitants of images (2009), which premiered at Art Dubai; and Photo-Romance (2009), which premiered at Festival d'Avignon in collaboration with Lina Saneh.

Following his 2010 Grants to Artists award, Mroué received a Spalding Grey Award (2010) and a Prince Claus Award (2011).

Mroué received a B.A. from Université Libanaise, Beirut, Lebanon in 1989 and is on the board of the Beirut Art Center.

Artist Statement

In 1990 I began creating my own plays, performances, and videos. Continuously searching for new and contemporary relations among all the different elements and languages of the theater art forms, I question the definitions of theater and the relationship between space and form in performance and how the performer relates with the audience. My works deal with issues that have been swept under the table in the current political climate of Lebanon.

From theater practice to politics, and from the problem of representation to my private life, my search for "truth versus fiction" begins via documents, photos, and found objects, often-fabricating documents and other "truths." The work becomes a dissection table for the dubious processes of Lebanon's war society.

- December 2009

Close-up of a white wall with rows of long wooden shelves hosting thin white cards with blue writing.
Grandfather, Father, and Son, 2010, shelves, cards, dimensions variable, installation view of FCA-supported exhibition at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.
An asymmetrical black slanted box hosts a television displaying a bluish-hued person's face, propped in front of an earthy purple and red wall with a gate revealing a wall of stacked bricks in the distance.
Je Veux Voir, 2010, installation view of FCA-supported exhibition at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Two vertically stacked square images, one of Mroué facing forward in front of a white screen, and one of a black square with white text along the bottom reading
I, the Undersigned, 2010, installation view of FCA-supported exhibition at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Installation view of three glass-framed tables displaying yellow text-filled papers beside a white wall covered in blocks of indiscernable black text and in the back, a small television displaying a person's face with indiscernable white subtitles.
Grandfather, Father, and Son, 2010, installation view of FCA-supported exhibition at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Installation view of three glass-framed tables displaying sheets of text-filled paper, a wall of stacked shelves hosting white cards, and blocks of black text on the white walls.
Grandfather, Father, and Son, 2010, installation view of FCA-supported exhibition at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands.