press release

The XV edition of the Advanced Course in Visual Arts of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti takes place in Como, Italy 1-22 July 2009. The course with Visiting Professor Walid Raad (1967, Chbanieh, Lebanon), artist and visual arts professor living between Beirut and New York, is entitled We Can Make Rain but No One Came to Ask.

The course, directed since 1995 by Annie Ratti, is curated by Anna Daneri and Cesare Pietroiusti with the coordination of Karen Tomatis. This year's course will investigate the theme of violence through the analyses of artworks, writings, and concepts dealing with events of extreme physical, psychological, and other forms of violence. In particular, the workshop will concentrate on the philosophical, historical, political, economic, and formal assumptions that informed Walid Raad's art projects, and on Jalal Toufic's concepts, especially 'The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster.'

2 July Walid Raad will be at the centre of two events open to the public: the opening of his first Italian solo show at the Spazio San Francesco and an introductory lecture presenting the work on show.

The lecture/performance, entitled Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A Preface will take place at 6.00 pm in the premises of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti. During the talk the artist will present his exhibition project, discussing the various events, situations and considerations that motivated his on-going work on the history of art in the Arab world.

At 8.00 pm, following the conference, there will be the opening of Walid Raad's first Italian solo exhibition, Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World, Part I Volume 1 Chapter 1: Beirut (1992-2005), open until 30 August at the Spazio San Francesco.

The show in Como is part of the research and art project that Walid Raad initiated in 2007 about the history of contemporary and modern art in the Arab world which is also entitled Scratching on Things I Could Disavow: A History of Art in the Arab World. Raad's project explores the recent emergence of a new physical infrastructure for the visual arts in the Middle East and the Gulf. In a context where cultural tourism has become an instrument of economic growth and power, Raad's project leans on the ideological, economic and political dimensions of this phenomenon to ask whether andhow culture and tradition in the Arab world may have been affected, materially and immaterially, by the various wars that have been waged there by native and external powers.

Scratching on Things I Could Disavow expands upon the intensive, research-based methodology of Raad's 15-year art project The Atlas Group that examined the social, political, psychological, and aesthetic conditions of the Lebanese wars. This new project marks a critical juncture in Raad's practice, at once a departure from The Atlas Group while expanding its historical and theoretical framework.

In his exhibition in Como, Raad presents three works form his new on-going project Scratching on Things I Could Disavow. The three works are titled: The Atlas Group (1989-2004); On Walid Sadek's Love Is Blind (Modern Art, Oxford, UK, 2006); and Index XXVI_Artists. Raad refers to these works as the stage-sets from a forthcoming play about the history of art in Beirut between 1992 and 2005, the so-called post-war period in Lebanon.

During the opening, and until 23 July, it will be possible to sign in for walking tours of the exhibition with Walid Raad, intended as previews of the play that is yet to be written and which the Lebanese artist is currently developing.

The publication documenting Walid Raad's projects will be presented in October during the end of course exhibition in Venice in collaboration with the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa.

Walid Raad is an artist and an Associate Professor of Art in The Cooper Union (New York, USA). Raad's works to date include mixed media installations, performance, video and photography, and literary essays. Raad's recent works include The Atlas Group, a fifteen-year project between 1989 and 2004 about the contemporary history of Lebanon, with particular emphasis on the Lebanese wars of 1975 to 1991. Raad's works have been shown at Documenta 11 (Kassel, Germany), The Venice Biennale, The Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin, Germany), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), Homeworks (Beirut, Lebanon) and numerous other museums and venues in Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Walid Raad is also a member of the Arab Image Foundation (Beirut/New York

Walid Ra´ad solo show - Scratching on Things I Could Disavow
A History of Art in the Arab World, Part I Volume 1 Chapter 1: Beirut (1992-2005)
as part of the XV Advanced Course in Visual Arts of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti
Ort: Spazio San Francesco, Como