How many generations does a person need to disentangle him or herself from the collective and personal history? And to what extent can a biased individual be regarded as a product that can be included in the circulation of commodities?
These are the questions that formed the ground for the performative installation of Hamid El Kanbouhi (1976, works and lives in Amsterdam) of his solo exhibition Hist-i-o-ry/ L’affare del secolo at 1646. For this exhibition Hamid created new work that took up the complete gallery space and transformed it into an all covering performative installation, involving painting, drawing, text, objects and human figures that were activated on special occasions, as the artist put himself on display and offered himself during the performances.
Hist-i-o-ry/ L’affare del secolo is a performative installation through which the artist explored notions such as family, origin, the human being as product, talent, policy. Resulting into something that is an all involving work inextricable from the reality of the daily life of the artist and his struggle to survive as an artist.
The focus of the installation was directed on measuring the interpretation of the visitor and his or her interaction with the performer, the space and the object. Unconventional correlations were made to the world of football, the position of the player as a product, and the significance the player carries for so many people. In a similar way Hamid El Kanbouhi likes to see the artist and the way the viewer is affected through the game of manipulation. Simultaneously the viewer is involved in experiencing the work, affecting both lives.
The installation is unable to answer all the questions that it raises, rather it offers a collection of symbols and hints from the artist’s life history and experience.