‘The Ground on Which I Stand’ is based on a speech given by the great, late American playwright August Wilson (1945-2005) on the occasion of the Theatre Communications National Conference in New York in 1996. A key part of Wilson’s statement was about the difficulties he was having in separating his concerns with theatre from his concerns of his life as an African-American. 'It is difficult to disassociate one part of my life from another. I have strived to live it all seamless … art and life together, inseparable and indistinguishable. The ideas I discovered and embraced in my youth when my idealism was full blown I have not abandoned in middle age when idealism is something less the blooming, but wisdom is starting to bud. The ideas of self-determination, self-respect and self-defense that governed my life in the ’60s I find just as valid and self-urging in 1996.’
Taking the cue from Wilson’s plea, the exhibition aims to investigate the impossibility of separating art from life and how they contribute to shaping our vision of society. Nir Alon (b. 1964) and Gazmend Ejupi (b. 1973) both share an interest in theatrical forms of representation as well as a constant struggle to define their cultural and geographical identity. The resulting sense of displacement is reflected in their different practices and the dialogue they entertain.
This exhibition, now in its fourth incarnation, marks the first collaboration between the two artists after years of acquaintance. The choice of investigating their own individuality, as well as issues of nostalgia, belonging, absence, integration and diversity, through a joint statement reveals an exploration of everyday reality counterbalanced by complementary narrative models.
The public display of their perception of the changes that have characterized their lives is an invitation to enter a moment of collective history and experience a personal one, and to embark on a journey to discover the ground on which you stand.
‘The Ground on Which I Stand’ first opened at Chelouche Gallery in Tel Aviv in spring 2009. It travelled to Tetris in Prishtina in autumn 2009 and at The Agency in London in June 2015. The exhibition at Feinkunst Krüger in Hamburg will be its conclusive leg. A catalogue documenting all four exhibitions will be launched in May.