Direct, différé: Rania Stephan, 2019

Rania Stephan

May 15, 2019 8:00 pm

With Direct, différé, Rania Stephan adds another layer to her practice of film and montage, often related to the history of Arab cinema: boxing. In this installation, she uses visual documentation (one for a fight and one for her fall), but also performs twice during Touché!

Stephan crosses different frontiers. She fights, punching both age, gender, and classifications between categories of the amateur and the professional and of art and sport practice. While an artist remains too often identified by a medium they are supposed to master, she brings her newly-acquired sports training from the field into the art space. Professional boxers stop fighting around the age of 30, yet stephan begins her endeavor long after that age. While men and women are forbidden to box together, she performs with young trained men. For this installation, she recorded an exchange with one of her trainers, as well as various falls that she performed alone.

The fall is crucial. It epitomizes a loss of control, and is usually conceived as the end of an action, a collapse. It shows a different way to step into making art: not as someone who displays virtuosic skills but as someone who understands her practice as a way to explore various aspects of the real. She enables herself to take risks and to experiment. Self-exposure is here at the edge of what we ordinarily try to keep to ourselves: one self’s violence and vulnerability.