Walid Raad; Views from Inner to Outer Compartments, 2013
In 2007, Walid Raad initiated an art project ‘Scratching on Things I Could Disavow. A History of Art in the Arab World' bringing up the topic of the recent emergence of large new infrastructures for the visual arts in the Arab world. Raad was fascinated by the increased visibility of the makers, sponsors, consumers, and the museum building boom in the Gulf that went as far as working on venues like the largest-to-date Gug-genheim Abu Dhabi Museum, a Louvre or a Performing Arts Centre.
As Raad writes, he was less interested in the fraught motives that prompt the sheikhs and sheikhas in the Gulf to invest in the arts than he was in screening these material developments through Jalal Toufic’s concept of ‘the withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing disaster.’ The concept considers how disasters affect tradition, in particular how artworks are affected immaterially, in subtle and insidious ways. This immaterial effect, a ‘withdrawal,’ is characterized in the sense that extant cultural artefacts are treated by sensitive artists in their own artworks as though destroyed, as unavailable to vision.
In September 2013, Edition Jacob Samuel released ‘Views from Inner to Outer Compartments’ – a publication that followed after the project related exhibition at the Louvre Museum.
The edition, a suite of 9 prints, reflects on the future of the 'universal museum', displacement of objects, and globalization of Arab art. White on white etching is used for outlining structures of views through doorways in museums' compartments. These structures become visible as independent entities, three dimensional space transforms into a two dimensional layout of lines, and the depth is turned inside out.