Lebanese artist Rabih Mroué (°1967) is a theatre director, visual artist and playwright. Mroué played an important avant-garde role in Lebanese theatre, which he took to new and unknown territories, away from the conventional institutions and European influences. His visual art sprouted from his theatre practice, which often contains video and installation art. In the videos of Mroué, time and montage play a crucial role. Characteristic of his installations are the use of text and photography.
At first sight, the issues that animate Rabih Mroué’s work have little in common with the forward-looking nature of utopian thinking. Driven by the need to confront his country’s tragic history, he often unavoidably reveals the monstrosity of human actions. The space where his works are presented during CONTOUR 7 is significant for its link to the more sombre chapters of the local history: the Vlietenkelder was used as a bomb shelter during the Second World War, when Mechelen underwent heavy bombardments. Equally, the memory of the city as transit platform from which Jewish and Roma people were sent to Auschwitz, resonates throughout the bleak histories told by the Lebanese artist. The four works exhibited here deal, each in different ways, with daunting and often traumatic memories from Lebanon’s past.