Repeat After Me

21:44 min | 2018 | HD Video | Color | Sound | Loop


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In one of the scenes in the video art piece “Repeat After Me”, the artist, Karam Natour, and three of his cousins are seen performing an amusing act of filling their mouths with colorful water and spraying it at one another, as if they were human fountains. The playful, childish sequence and the pseudo-simple homestyle photography are some of the means Natour uses to convey a multilayered, complex message. The scene references the iconic work of American artist Bruce Nauman, Self-Portrait as a Fountain. Nauman used his own body as an instrument for examining Man’s place in a world in which behavior is defined by codes that are subject to the rules of language. Karam Natour uses his body and image as means for investigating the boundaries of the cultural, social, and geographical space in which he lives and operates. Natour’s artistic practice operates in three overlapping routs. The first relates to his physical image and concrete identity. Natour leads a performative act, to which he harnesses his extended family. He asks of them—and of us— “repeat after me”, dare to break the mold. Language plays a central role in Natour’s occupation with culture and tradition. Using text as an idea and an image in three languages—Arabic, Hebrew, and English—indicates a complex identity and multicultural political affiliation: Arab, Western, Israeli. In his works, Natour often references works of art as a means for renewed observation on the culture from which he emerged, and for breaking taboos.