Weekender presents: Do Camels Dream of Snow? A solo exhibition of Simon Wald-Lasowski.
26 Feb, 17.00 - 22.00.
26 Feb - 13 March
Vriend van Bavink's Project Space: Pacific Place, Geldersekade 28, Amsterdam.
As a child, Simon Wald-Lasowski lived two years in Mostaganem, a small town in Algeria. In October 2014, he returned to the Maroccan Sahara for a residency with the aim to rediscover North Africa. In the desert, without any form of (digital) distraction, Wald-Lasowski could fully focus on his goal to create new engaged work without losing his playful approach.
In recent years negative connotations about the Arab culture, habits and beliefs have grown stronger in the West. These images are in stark contrast with the warm and playful childhood memories that Wald-Lasowski has of his youth in Algeria. However, ultimately, the stereotypes of North Africa constantly recurring in the media started to influence him negatively and upset him. Motivated by an urge to rediscover the positive energy of this region, Wald-Lasowski was hoping to break the negative clichés the Arab culture had acquired in his surroundings by visualising it in a new light.
The question "do camels dream of snow?" is the common thread of the exhibition. The works were created partly by means of field surveys, observations and conversations with locals, and partly by previously sketched ideas. Photographic reproductions of found objects and staged photographs are combined in an associative manner and function as evidence of an ‘imaginary exodus.’ By portraying a fictional group of nomads who long to swap the desert heat for a cold climate, the photographer touches upon deeper social issues in a subtle and poetic manner. Is dreaming of another reality not just a universal human condition? Longing for a ‘better life elsewhere’ (i.e. warmer or colder living environments) is something all of us can relate to, and therefore makes us look at issues surrounding migration in a new and surprising manner.
Yet, the message of these images is ambiguous. Is Simon Wald-Lasowski not romanticizing the desert and it’s population creating a paradoxical desire in the viewer who understands the need to escape the desolation of this harsh environment but who is simultaneously innevitally attracted to it? With this exhibition Simon hopes to contribute to the transformation of the contemporary Orientalist discourse.
The exhibition is made possible by Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and