Marwa Arsanios | Reverse Shot
The Mosaic Rooms presents the first public London solo exhibition by Marwa Arsanios surveying her interdisciplinary practice. The exhibition reflects on colonial and ecological violence and the alternative possibilities in grassroots community resistance and a more harmonious relationship with the land.
The exhibition opens with a presentation of the artists reading room. Visitors will be invited to sit in the reading room and engage with texts together, as part of the artists longstanding interest in language, politics and collaborative processes. Here, Arsanios has curated a selection of books to initiate discussion on alternative visions to mainstream patriarchal ideologies.
The works featured in the main room reflect on systems of capitalism, and the lasting effects of the neo-liberal boom on both environmental and socio-political factors. Falling is not collapsing, falling is extending, draws on two instances to critically reflect on the rapid capitalisation and urbanisation in Beirut since the 1990s.In parallel the film looks at the rubbish crisis of 2015, where thousands of tons of garbage filled the streets. Overflowing and closed landfills and accumulations of waste continue to threaten Beirut’s environment and population. The work also consists of Resilient Weeds, a botanic archive of drawings of plants and animals that can survive the toxic levels of these sites.
Amateurs, Stars and Extras or The Labor Of Love uses the blur between stage and backstage to reflect on the labour of underpaid or unpaid domestic workers. Mainly performed by women who are often the fundamental actors in domestic economy, the film looks at the invisible work of care as experienced by domestic workers in different sites and geographies. It highlights the radical potential of collective political projects to affect change through the voices of syndicalists from the domestic workers’ syndicate in Mexico City.
In the final room of the exhibition is the fourth chapter of Who is Afraid of Ideology IV: Reverse Shot. The film departs from a collaborative project that is attempting to shift the status of a private land in the North of Lebanon to a common or a social waqf. The aim would be to advance the right of usership over ownership. The land would only be used by people who do not own a land for agricultural purposes. The film follows this process and adds to it a reflection on the way land as a living object inherently resists property.
The exhibition brings together a selection of works by the artist that explore visibility and invisibility, space and temporality and the relationship between gender, ecology and colonial legacies. Importantly, many of these works seek to reveal an opening for alternative and radical ways to collectively resist and reclaim knowledge.
Marwa Arsanios is an artist, filmmaker and researcher who reconsiders politics of the mid-twentieth century from a contemporary perspective, with a particular focus on gender relations, urbanism and industrialisation. She approaches research collaboratively and seeks to work across disciplines. Solo shows include: Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2021); Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana (2018); Beirut Art Center (2017); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Kunstinstituut Melly FKA Witte de With, Rotterdam (2016) and Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2015). Her work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions including: Documenta 15 (2022), Sharjah Biennale (2019) and Home Works Forum, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2010, 2013, 2015).
Image: Marwa Arsanios, Who Is Afraid of Ideology IV: Reverse Shot, 2023. Installation view at The Mosaic Rooms. Photography: Andy Stagg.