Mounir Fatmi’s work is influenced by the massive development and expansion of media as a space of exchange. Using video, photography, sculpture and installation, Fatmi addresses a wide range of cultural, social and political subjects with an approach that is at once biting, playful and provocative, and that evidences his dedication to interrogating the ways in which history is written and mediatized, and in particular the taboos, censorship and silences that both enable and limit its transmission.
The monochromatic sculpture Al Jazeera is one of a number of artworks that Fatmi produced in the late 2000s using text and language as both material and form. This strategy aligns Fatmi with many modern Arab painters who incorporate the Arabic script into their work, as well as with the text-based conceptual art that developed in Europe and North America in the 1960s. In Al Jazeera, Fatmi appropriates the now iconic calligraphic logo of the eponymous Qatari television network, which he recreates, frieze-like, by affixing matte white antenna cables onto textured wood painted in white. Using the banal materials of the satellite television station’s transmission system — cheap, mass-produced cords and wires — Fatmi creates an image from the material objects of its transmission, riffing on Al Jazeera’s visual branding, which ensures that the network is recognized well beyond its Doha headquarters. Calling attention to how, in the twenty-first century, news and information travel through the coexistence of physical infrastructures and digital networks, Al Jazeera highlights how contemporary news outlets are also brands responsible for telling the stories of the world in real time.