About the part that art plays in a globalising society

Framer Framed

Voices in the West Bank, by Abla elBahrawy (2014)

8 Feb –
8 Mar 2015

Exhibition: The End Of This Story (And the Beginning of All Others)

The exhibition The End of This Story (And The Beginning of All Others) challenges prominent modes of historicizing as a credible producer of knowledge. In placing the works of two artists side-by-side, the exhibition both highlights and explores the practice of storytelling, through the presence of the methodological complex of archeology–both literally and metaphorically.

Using a dialectical approach, the exhibition serves as a critical footnote to the representation models of the exhibition series The Crisis of History, a trilogy of exhibitions concerned with the crisis of history and how this crisis is felt in the art world, particularly in the Middle East.

Artists: Kaya Behkalam (DE) and Abla elBahrawy (EG),
Curated by Katayoun Arian,
Duration February 8 t/m March 8, 2015.

Works in the exhibition

Kaya Behkalam‘s project Fear Filled Her Heart as, Gazing Back, She Saw (A Farewell to the Monument) (2013), revisits allegoric depictions of European nations embodied by female figures such as Germania, Marianne or Europa. Their symbolic postures are re-enacted by a group of Cairo-based dancers. Through improvisational appropriations they are trying to utilize their bodies as archaeological instruments, tracing both the corporeal and conceptual, utopian and violent origins of these imagined communities as well as the emancipatory potential of the allegoric depiction itself, which in its ambiguity defies monumental models and master narratives of European identity constructions.

“Your body is an archeological device excavating itself. Not as text; not decodable, nor explained. Use touch to keep, write, read, retrieve, share history as lived by and through the body. Distance is useless when seeing with your hands. Assert immediate, tactile proximity; let tracing and groping become seeing. Write your body, let your body write.”

Excerpt from Fear filled her heart as, gazing back, she saw (A Farewell to the Monument), 2013.

Abla elBahrawy presents outcomes of a larger ongoing research project on dig houses in Luxor, Egypt. The project targets an understudied group of buildings that are distinctive as places where different cultures and social classes counteract under consistent colonial or semi-colonial conditions. The houses are handled as objects of critical spatial analysis. The work expands from archival documentation and survey, to experiments with notions of visual trace and layering, to broader questions about the sensitivities of the archaeological field. The selection of material shown tells the story of the houses as palimpsests that continuously shape and get reshaped, and as barbarian models that represent archaeological practices as they perform through time within a changing contemporary monumental landscape.

Fictional story

A conversation between two Royal mummies inside their room at the Egyptian museum in Cairo guides us through the story of afterlife as narrated by the dead Pharaoh. His journey tests the ancient Egyptian mortuary belief against an actual context of colonial and criminal digging practices.

Film still, Fear filled her heart as, gazing back, she saw, 2013/14

Kaya Behkalam, Fear filled her heart as, gazing back, she saw (2013-2014), video still


Exhibition: Crisis of History #2 - Fight History

Curated by Robert Kluijver


Notes On Excavating And Writing The Past
Storytelling-event on the occasion of the exhibition ‘The End of This Story (And The Beginning of All Others)’
Documentary: Image Acts
A film by Aylin Kuryel on the connection between visual culture and nationalism in Turkey.
Reflection committee, an experiment with inclusive curating
About the creation of the public programme Crisis of History.


Katayoun Arian

Curator and writer

Kaya Behkalam


Abla elBahrawy