Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth (2022). Installation view The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme


– 24.11.24

In June 2024, CC and the Glyptotek will open a major exhibition with the international artist duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme. The joint exhibition takes place at both institutions simultaneously and presents several of the artists’ key works in new iterations.

Since 2007, Basel Abbas (b. 1983) and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (b. 1983) have developed an internationally renowned body of work across video, sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Through immersive and multi-layered media installations, the artist duo stimulates body and mind as they re-imagine our contemporary landscape of politics and poetics, past and present. Sound plays a key role in their work. Adapting sampling techniques prevalent in London’s drum and bass scene of the 1990s, Abbas and Abou-Rahme’s soundtracks feature archival material alongside electronic tracks and real-time recordings. The soundscapes are accompanied by striking images layered with quotes from critical and poetic texts in Arabic and English.

A key work at display at CC is one of Abbas and Abou-Rahmes main works; May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth: only sounds that tremble through us (2020-) – a poetic multiscreen video and sound installation based on online recordings from social media of everyday situations where people perform, sing and dance in public squares in places like Iraq, Syria and Palestine. These recordings are accompanied by an overwhelming bass-heavy soundtrack created by Palestinian musicians. In the artists’ own words, the work shows “how the shattered communities resist annihilation and reclaim place, self and community.”

Central to their practice is an ongoing concern for how communities can mobilize hope by creating counter-narratives within oppressive political systems. The artists often refer to their works as ‘poetics of resistance’ – a resistance that is at once universal and rooted in the personal backgrounds of the artists, both of whom belong to the Palestinian community.

Basel Abbas (born 1983, Cyprus) and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (born 1983, USA) live and work between Ramallah, Palestine and New York. They studied in the UK in the 2000s, where they met and started their collaboration.

They have had institutional solo exhibitions at, among others, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2023); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2022); Common Guild, Glasgow (2022); the Art Institute of Chicago (2021); Centraal Museum, Utrecht (2020); Kunstverein, Hamburg (2018); Art Jameel Project Space Dubai (2017); and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2015).

Their work has been included in major international biennials such as the Sharjah Biennial (2023, 2015); Berlin Biennale (2022); Busan Biennial (2018); Gwangju Biennale and São Paulo Biennial (both 2014), Istanbul Biennial (2013), Liverpool Biennial (2010); and Venice Biennale (2009).

Joint institutional collaboration
The exhibition is the second in the series of the three-year collaboration between CC and the Glyptotek titled Hosting Histories: Revisiting Cultural Heritage of the Middle East and Beyond, which seeks to revisit the cultural heritage of antiquity and its significance today.