Exhibition: Borrowed Faces: Future Recall

This exhibition CLOSED on Sun, 26th Sep 2021

This exhibition has finished.

Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Cost: Free of Charge

This exhibition looks at the Cold War and its effect on cultural practices in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa region, which generated one of the most fertile periods in the history of Arab culture and publishing.

Artists Sami Rustom, Omar Nicolas and Kenan Darwich have been working together as Fehras Publishing Practices since 2015. Their work playfully explores significant cultural moments in the history of Arab publishing through performance, installation and publications, skilfully blending fiction and reality.

Borrowed Faces: Future Recall unpicks the political and cultural policies of the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, investigating the networks and projects funded by the rival superpowers. The exhibition has three distinct sections, presenting different strands of the artists’ current research.

One section exhibits Fehras’ photo-novel Borrowed Faces, no. 1. Through a series of photographs, the viewer is transported to Beirut in the 1960s by three women, performed by the collective. The novel follows these characters’ journeys as they interact with historical figures and institutions of the Cold War, revealing the complex tangle of power, money, creativity and friendship.

Another section presents the collective’s archives of books, magazines, letters, memoirs and photographs. The installation includes archive materials and a digital archive of Fehras’ research on publications and thinkers during the Cold War era, including from London when the city became a meeting point for Arab intellectuals.

In newly produced photographic works, the final section presents a re-imagining of the archive for the Congress for Cultural Freedom. This anti-communist cultural organisation was later discovered to have been funded by the CIA. The protagonists of Borrowed Faces reappear in this work, traveling into the future to interact with this archive. Through this and an accompanying sound piece, the artists explore the role of institutional archiving in defining knowledge hierarchies and classifying facts.

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The Mosaic Rooms,

Tower House,
226 Cromwell Road,

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