Jumana Manna: A Magical Substance Flows Into Me

Jumana Manna

31 March 2017 - 27 May 2017
Opening Reception 31 March 2017 7pm

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Mercer Union is delighted to present the first solo exhibition by the Berlin-based artist Jumana Manna in Canada, in collaboration with the 30th Images Festival.

The exhibition presents her feature-length film, A magical substance flows into me (2015) which weaves through musical traditions of a multitude of communities living in and around Jerusalem. It takes as its starting point German-Jewish ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann’s field recordings of ‘Oriental’ groups in Palestine in the 1930s and his Oriental Music radio series made for the Palestinian Broadcasting Service; established under the British Mandate (1920-1948). Responding to Lachmann’s project, Manna revisits the communities that he studied–including Kurdish, Moroccan, and Yemenite Jews, Samaritans, members of urban and rural Palestinian communities, Bedouins and Coptic Christians–replaying his recordings and making new recordings of her own. These exchanges take place in their homes, offices, recording studios, and places of worship, and are interspersed with scenes from her own family home in East Jerusalem. Weaving from one site to another, the intertwinement of heritage and identities are presented, along with the imagining of a multifaceted Palestine.

This film is presented with a series of plaster, vessel, and body-like sculptures. According to Manna “Listening collapses the division of self and other, or of singular and plural, or inside and outside. […] This idea of the body as a medium and as a place of resonance has been something that has followed me throughout the making of these works. The sculptures are vessels, similar to our bodies, that may be filled with fluids, air or sound; sound is taking place in space but is also spreading within us.”

Jumana Manna (b.1987) is a visual artist working primarily with film and sculpture. Her work explores how power is articulated through relationships, often focusing on the body and materiality in relation to narratives of nationalism, and histories of place. Recent solo exhibitions include venues such as Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK (2015); Malmo Konsthall, SE (2016); Beirut Art Center, Lebanon (2015); and Sculpture Center, New York, USA (2014). She has participated in group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien, Liverpool Biennial, 20th Biennale of Sydney, Marrakech Biennale 6, The Jerusalem Show VII, Al Ma’mal Foundation, and Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Bærum. Manna’s films have been screened in festivals such as the 54th Viennale International Film Festival, 66th Berlinale Forum and IFFR Rotterdam. She was awarded the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Palestinian Artist Award in 2012, the Ars Viva Prize for Visual Arts 2017, and is currently nominated for the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst in Berlin. Manna is based in Berlin.

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the 30th Images Festival, April 20-27 2017.
For more information visit imagesfestival.com

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Image details: Jumana Manna A Magical Substance Flows Into Me (2015), video still. Co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Malmö Konsthall, Malmö and the 20th Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist and CRG Gallery, New York.