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Tarik Kiswanson



03 March – 31 August 2021

Tarik Kiswanson’s composition ‘Surging’ occupies a weightless space in which a disorienting collage of sounds hangs suspended in a formless silence, shifting in and out of focus. Sounds crash and objects collide, breaking together; glass shatters, perhaps a window; and sirens ring out, immediately recognisable. No sooner do they arise than the sounds are abruptly interrupted before their auditory arc is complete; swallowed up and refracted elsewhere. This aural debris – a combination of recorded, collected and repurposed sound – appears to have its own agency, trajectory and dynamic rhythm.

Occasionally a child’s voice speaks through the silence, posing questions that refuse resolution and articulating phrases from an unknown narrative that guides the listener deeper still into an uncertain, deconstructed world. The voice is Kiswanson’s preadolescent collaborator Vadim, a Romanian-French boy living in Paris. The figure of the preadolescent child is significant to Kiswanson, symbolising a moment in a child’s growth and development when they first become aware of their own sense of self, who they are in relation to others, and their place in society.

Vadim’s words, extracts from the artist’s writing, are spoken directly to the ear of the listener, as if tuning in to an inner voice. As he speaks, the hybridity of a voice that holds multiple linguistic and cultural associations becomes clear, his words layered with different contexts, conditions and geographies.

Through syncopated repetition, ‘Surging’ gradually builds a disordered looping pattern that refuses to settle. The work exists in a buoyant, levitating state of tension and instability where things connect, collide, disintegrate and reform endlessly; a reoriented space of existence and possibility.

Artist Biography

Tarik Kiswanson’s work encompasses sculpture, writing, performance, drawing, sound and video works. His fundamental question is ontological: it is inscribed in philosophical research into Being as being. Notions of rootlessness, regeneration, and renewal are recurring themes in his oeuvre. Born in Halmstad, Sweden in 1986 where his family exiled from Palestine, his artistic practice evinces an engagement with the poetics of métissage: a means of writing and surviving between multiple conditions and contexts. His various bodies of work can be understood as a cosmology of related conceptual families, each exploring variations on themes like refraction, multiplication, disintegration, levitation, hybridity, and polyphony through their own distinct language.

Kiswanson has most recently presented his work at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019), Ural Biennial, Ekaterinburg (2019), Performa Biennial, New York (2019) Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2018), Fondation Ricard, Paris (2018) and the Gwangju Biennial (2018). His retrospective exhibition ‘Mirrorbody’ is currently at Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain accompanied by a forthcoming monograph published by Distanz. His upcoming solo exhibitions include MMAG Foundation, Amman (2021), M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (both 2022).

Part of 'In the open' – Series II

Mastering by Stephan Mathieu /
Schwebung Mastering.
Design: Maeve Redmond.