David Gheron Tretiakoff

Immolation I, II, III, IV, 2016
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
19.10.2016—15.01.2017

Made especially for The Grand Balcony, David Gheron Tretiakoff’s Immolation I, II, III, IV goes back to a moment in time in 1928 when three men decided to divide and share the world during a secret meeting in the Royal Palace Hotel in Ostend, Belgium. Merging the three biggest oil companies of the time, they sealed the fate of the world for a long time to come. Invoking these men through a via negativa, by representing three revolutionaries of the Arab world, Tretiakoff creates a chilling apparatus. The series of large burned-paper drawings, made by smoking cigarettes, features Arab martyrs self-immolated in 2011. In these drawings the geopolitical touches the intimate, creating an eerie mirroring of the spectator’s body. The drawings look like beautifully jaded flags, gently moved by the air current in the gallery, and their life-size representation slowly reveals itself through the holes, the emptied parts in the paper. These extremely fragile drawings portray Mohamad Bouazizi (Tunisia), Ahmad Hachem As-Sayyed (Egypt), Ahmad al-Matarneh (Jordan), and Hamza Al-Khatib (Syria), at the very moment of their self-immolation.

A God Passing, 2008
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
19.10.2016—15.01.2017

Tretiakoff’s earlier film, A God Passing, documents the transfer of the statue of Ramses from the Cairo train station to the new Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau, shortly before the Arab Spring. Masses of people filled the streets in 2007 and gazed with awe and respect at the colossal, brightly lit statue as it was transported from the city in various sections. The primary question of the work was: “Can the removal of Ramses be seen as the starting point of the revolution in the Middle East?” One thing is certain: In Tretiakoff’s A God Passing, we become witnesses to one of the first moments when the people were able to sense their own power while the authorities stood by powerless.