Runs Black 1


Shaima al-Sabbagh killed during a demonstration in Cairo on January 24th 2015


The Tigris inverted


A depiction of the siege of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258, residents of the city flee by swimming across the Tigris.  Notice the Tigris runs black in the depiction.

A protester runs amidst tear gas and fire, Palestine


Screenshot of textEdit note pad


‘First the air is blue’ against a blue-black still frame from Godard’s Un film comme les autres


Sacking of Nimrud by Daesh, close up on hammer and Nike shoe


Tigris and Euphrates in blue-black


Details of miniature painting, a woman watches the siege of Baghdad from her balcony window



Runs Black 2


A large depiction of the siege of Baghdad.  The Tigris runs black.


The looting of the Baghdad Museum during the American invasion of Iraq, a beheaded sculpture lies on the floor


‘I am blacking out’ against a blue-black still frame from Godard’s Un film comme les autres


Detail of miniature painting, beating of drums during the siege of Baghdad


A group of people dance together, Shefamer, Palestine


Tombstone in Kuwaykat cemetery, a destroyed Palestinian village in Israel


Still frame from Godard’s Un film comme les autres in blue-black

Detail of miniature painting, two women watch the siege of Baghdad


About the artist

باسل عبّاس وروان أبو رحمة، ويبقى قناعي قويّا (2015). الحقوق محفوظة للفنّانين.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Their practice probes a contemporary landscape marked by seemingly perpetual crisis and an endless 'present', one that is increasingly shaped by a politics of desire and disaster. They have been developing a body of work that questions this suspension of the present and searches for ways in which an altogether different imaginary can emerge. In their projects, they find themselves excavating, activating and inventing incidental narratives, figures, gestures and sites as material for re-imagining the possibilities of the present. Often reflecting on the idea of returns, amnesia and deja vu, and in the process unfolding the slippages between actuality and projection (fiction, myth, wish), what is and what could be.  Their practice, largely research based, frequently investigates the spatio-temporal resonances of seemingly disparate moments.  Overwhelmingly their approach has been one of sampling materials (both existing and self-authored) in the form of sound, image, text, objects and recasting them into altogether new 'scripts'. The result is a practice that investigates the visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multi-media installations and live sound/image performances.  


They have had solo presentations at ICA (Philadelphia), Office for Contemporary Art (Oslo), Akademie Der Kuenste Der Welt (Cologne), New Art Exchange (Nottingham),Delfina Foundation (London) and Carroll/Fletcher (London) Their work has been exhibited at  Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna) Museum Of Modern Art (Warsaw), ICA (London) the 12th Sharjah Biennale, the 31st São Paulo Biennial; the 10th Gwangju Biennale; the 13th Istanbul Biennial; the 6th Jerusalem Show; HomeWorks 5 (Beirut), and Palestine c/o Venice at the 53rd Venice Biennale. They have held performances at The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), House of World Culture (Berlin), Tanzquartier (Vienna,), Serpentine Pavilion (London), 4th Guangzhou Triennial (Guangzhou), TBA 21 (Vienna), De Balie (Amsterdam), Beirut Art Centre (Beirut), Danish Film Institute (Copenhagen) and CCA (Glasgow).


In 2015 they received the Sharjah Biennale Prize. They were fellows at Akademie der Kunste der Welt in Cologne in 2013 and artists in residence at the Delfina Foundation, London in 2009. They are recipients of the 2016 Abraaj Art Prize. They live between Palestine and New York.