Omar Kholeif

  • Omar Kholeif

    I have always been obsessed with the concepts around, and notions of, time. This is because time makes me anxious. In our current age of relentless speed, technology and its platforms are faster than we can keep up with, and more efficient than ever, and yet time is ever seeping through our hands. A real sufferer of FOMO, I am always left wanting more. Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time (Riverhead) is a small but profound book that I have repeatedly returned to over the past few months, and it continues to impact my thinking. Rovelli deconstructs the “crumbling of time,” as he describes it, and

  • Nil Yalter, Le Chevalier d’Éon, 1978, two stills from the video component (black-and-white, sound, 15 minutes 7 seconds) of a mixed-media installation with Polaroids, gelatin silver prints, and acrylic paintings on canvas.


    IN 2012, Turkish artist Nil Yalter’s poetic Le Chevalier d’Éon, 1978, debuted at Galeria Visor in Valencia, Spain, giving audiences an opportunity to see what is arguably the first artwork from a Middle Eastern context to engage transgender identity. Shot with a Porta-Pak, the video at the heart of Yalter’s installation had languished for years on a tape that she no longer had the means to play back, because the requisite technology had become obsolete. Then, in the late 2000s, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France offered to restore and digitize her archives. “I had forgotten this work for thirty

  • Jean Fisher. Photo: James De Quesada.
    passages January 13, 2017

    Jean Fisher (1942–2016)

    I REMEMBER GOING AROUND to my dear mentor Jean Fisher’s house on an average bleary London night to get my education. This wasn’t the education of textbooks or customary art history but a journey into the late 1980s and early ’90s in Britain, where many a queer writer and artist had spent time sitting in the very same seat as me. Hamad Butt and Stuart Morgan were but two examples whom Fisher cited as close. After Butt died from AIDS-related causes, she fought tooth and nail, lobbying the art world to get his archive and artworks into the Tate’s collection.

    Now that tragic time has come, and Jean

  • Marwan, 2012. Photo: Dietmar Bührer.
    passages December 07, 2016

    Marwan Kassab-Bachi (1934–2016)

    THE PAIN OF LOSS seems to pervade every corner of my life at the moment. Everything feels more precarious than ever before. I sat and watched the US election results from a hotel room in Berlin after having spent the day shivering in a bitter-cold forest fifteen miles outside of the city, where Marwan had just been buried.

    Marwan Kassab-Bachi, known simply as Marwan, was an artist whose imagination captured the minds and hearts of many. But he also moved beyond the limits of art, the limits of painting or canvas, indeed the limits of our imaginations.

    I will begin by explaining how I met Marwan.

  • Right: Members of WHW (What, How & for Whom). (Except where noted, all photos: Omar Kholeif) Right: Meeting Points director Tarek Abou El Fetouh. (Photo: Danwen Xin)
    diary October 30, 2013

    Meeting in the Middle

    “WILL YOU COME to Meeting Points 7 in Belgium?” implored Tarek Abou El Fetouh, the director of the roving biennial festival, via a Facebook message earlier this month. “I’ll send you a catalogue fresh from the oven to whet your appetite.” How could I resist? In a blink of an eye I had rescheduled flights and was on a Eurostar from London bound for Antwerp and the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, the second stop for Meeting Points (Gallery Nova in Zagreb was the first), which this year proposed to make an urgent “statement” about revolutionary and postrevolutionary society.

    Meeting Points is an