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Posted On: 12 October 2013 11:01 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:13 pm

Brutality in the name of arts irks citizens

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A video showing several chickens on fire as they hang against a wall has led to shock in the Qatari community, and in the process stoked a controversy. The video is an artwork displayed at the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) in an exhibition by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed. ‘Printemps’, which means ‘spring’ in French, is paradoxically the title of the artwork that explores violence with live chickens burning and screaming. “What is happening in Qatar now? Why are they provoking people with such ruthless shows?” one visitor of the exhibition posted on Twitter. Confused by the brutality of the footage, some even wondered why anyone would hurt animals by burning them live. “It is a kind of ritual in some religions,” one commentator said while trying to make some sense out of the video. Some people said that they visited the exhibition only after they heard about the ‘cruel’ nature of some artworks, which according to critics, may have served the purpose of the exhibition. “This is not about chicken burning but burning Islamic values,” wrote another commentator on a social networking site. Columnist Faisal Al Marzouqi said that the authorities should punish the artist instead of showing his work as art. “This is against Islamic values, it is criminal art,” he said. In a press preview, the curator of the exhibition, Pier Luigi Tazzi, said that the purpose of the ‘Printemps’ was to show violence that has no rationale. “This shows the kind of violence, which does not have any motivation. There is no reason for why it is happening,” Tazzi said. He said that the birds did not die during the shooting of the video. In fact, Abdessemed went through the ordeal himself first before he ‘applied’ the same to another living being. “The artist experimented this on himself first and then he did it on the chicken. The same gel that he put on the chicken, he put on himself,” Tazzi explained. He also said Abdessemed would not repeat this work because it was very violent. “He (Abdessemed) wants people to face violence, in a very brutal way. There is no aesthetic reason behind it. It’s not beautiful but you have to be confronted with it.” The exhibition titled L’âge d’Or (The Golden Age) is on display at Mathaf until January 5.