La Destruction Du, 2016
La Description de l'Egypte, ou Recuil des observations et des recherches qui ont ete faites en Egypte pendant l'expedition de l'armee francaise
From 1798 until 1801, while Napoleon Bonaparte was waging war on Egypt (and the Middle East), he brought with him an army of scientists and artists who were ordered to map 'the Orient'. The results of this campaign were published in the bundle La Description de l'Egypte. Since the 18th century a lot of artefacts from the Mesopotamians, ancient Egyptians, Assyrians and other settled cultures from the Middle East area were taken to Europe and the United States. Nowadays, there are enormous collections of these ancient Near Eastern artefacts still found in the Louvre, British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
At this moment, a large part of the Middle East is occupied by IS (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh). As we speak, IS fighters have been marching throughout the Levant leaving the museum of Mosul destroyed and most of the ancient cities of Palmyra, Hatra and Nimrud.
Within this research, I try to find a position on how to feel and deal with the safety of ancient Middle Eastern artefacts. Are the works stolen in colonial times? Who is the rightful owner? Can artefacts be bought from IS on the black market? And mostly, is the thought that the artefacts are saved from IS a leftover from a colonial 'superior' Western world?
In La Destruction Du, I present drawings and prints that have visual similarities and a style that reminds of the prints from 'La Description de l'Egypte' series. However, my drawings and prints show the cultural heritage AFTER destruction by IS. A dynamited Palmyra, a demolished Tomb of Jonas, and a mauled Lamassu.