“I lie to them.”
Based on a true story
CURATED BY SESSION 22
OF THE ÉCOLE DU MAGASIN
JUNE 9, 2013 TO SEPTEMBER 1, 2013
What moves us, irks us, makes us think, emote or react? What drives the need to acknowledge a past event or person, a story neglected or silenced, one that is considered unpopular? Can the retelling of marginal histories represent a form of resistance?
The exhibition I Lie to Them. Based on a True Story explores the effectiveness of fiction in re-telling, re- representing and re-enacting traumatic experiences and unofficial histories. The artists blur the boundaries between real and fake, employing strategies of manipulation to create new narratives appropriated from archives, news images or war witness accounts; while questioning both the medium and the source’s authenticity. But how do we know what is true if the narration of the story changes every time? The act of retelling presupposes different degrees of comprehension that ‘occupy’ and control the flow of (hi)story by taking a stand in its construction and production of meaning. As for the gathered artworks, are they simply some other subjective versions added to the plethora of stories used by the authorities or the media? Can their inherent creation processes recall the lies, the alleged truth to which we are exposed almost daily?
In order to comment on or transmit a traumatic experience, such as a war, do we need to have survived or witnessed it? Within the exhibition, the constellation of fragmented narratives refers back to historical tragic events for instance, from the Second World War or the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the current state of fear caused by terrorism or social displacement. Retelling establishes a new relationship with History, and within the context of the exhibition and unfolds on three levels: the disconnection between the actual trauma and the narration of its experience, the (thematic) levelling of historical content of the narratives within the exhibition and the continuing relevance of re-reading these narratives as a reflexive tool that mirrors today’s state of precariousness.