The Museum for Islamic Art is hosting Dor Guez’s solo exhibition in Jerusalem. The project’s title, The Sick Man of Europe, quotes a term coined in the 19th century to describe the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, accoding to e-flux.com.
Using this term, Guez examines the culture and history of some of the nation states that have emerged from the Ottoman debris. He appropriates this metaphor by reconstructing “the sick man” as a historic figure. Each section of the project recounts the story of an individual who embodies a subject fallen victim to military conditions,
The exhibition is centered on a film in which Guez presents the story of Hagop, an Armenian composer whose family was expelled from Kütahya during World War I. Guez accompanies Hagop on his first visit to sacred sites in contemporary Armenia. Along the way we hear an archival conversation between Komitas and Suni, two renowned early Armenian composers. The two compare composing to a journey, and point out a connection between the art of composition and Armenian topography.
The exhibition also includes a series of photograms featuring ground plans of Armenian churches, ceramic objects from Kütahya that Guez traced and extracted from the museum’s collection, and showcases containing prints reproduced from glass slides, documenting the Ottoman army during WWI, among them, a slide showing Enver Pasha, one of the principal perpetrators of the Armenian genocide.