Medrar for Contemporary Art

1 March 2020 - 26 March 2020

Including collaborations with
Andrea Nones-Kobiakov and Natasha Yonan
Curated by Ahmed Shawky Hassan

How can you talk about something without talking about it? According to French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, “what creates the power of words… is the belief in the legitimacy of words and of those who utter them…words alone cannot create this belief.” With language, the onus is on the recipient and their desire to receive and harmonize with the words from a narrator. Springing from this idea, Marwa Benhalim’s work in The Cookbook is interested in the circulation of language, its fluid capacities, while being a camouflaged-context-dependent medium.

The production of the works in the show began with Benhalim’s research on language, observing its duality as a source of strength and weakness. Informed by this dualism, Benhalim’s work negotiates a space between realism and surrealism, creating its own language. Together the works dismantle the mechanics of official television speech production and popular proverbs and idioms – specifically in relation to food and consumption.

Language as a medium in its own right, goes through a variety of conceptual and material translations in the works, from the transcription of texts and objects, to their mechanical engravement on solid surfaces. The works appropriate the tools of disseminating official texts in public spaces, such as commemorative memorial luxurious marble murals, recorded televised speeches, and finally, live broadcasting.

About the artist:

This production was made possible through a grant from the Culture Resource Production Awards Program.