In the installation Fegefeuer (Purgatory, 2014), first created in a bombed-out house in the Syrian city of Kafarnubel, Hiba Al-Ansari explores the then-current situation in Syria. It represents a site-specific engagement with the prevailing violence that forced twelve million people to flee from it, either within the country or beyond its borders. During the militant clashes among the Syrian state apparatus, the Free Syrian Army, ISIL, other local groups, and international actors, over half a million people have been killed to date. Hiba Ansari's experiences during the flare-up of the civil war and her change of perspective, caused by her move to Germany, are processed in her artistic examination, in which her body is to be understood as a central part of the work. The performative structure of her installations also reflects her altered body consciousness and focuses primarily on acoustic modes of expression: “I gave birth to a child from the uterus of purgatory; I stole its extremities from the dreams of the dead.” Fegefeuer was reinstalled for the first time in a site-specific adaptation for the exhibition "Mindbombs - Visual Cultures of Political Violence".
Image credits: Installation view, Exhibition MINDBOMBS, Kunsthalle Mannheim, 2021 ©Kunsthalle Mannheim; Rainer Diehl