Ahmad Mallah

Ahmad Mallah en Rebecca Lillich Krüger The Ladder, (video stills), 2023. Foto: Jesse Immanuel Bom. Courtesy AIR Art House Holland

Year granted: 2022 Website: Part of Prospects

Ahmad Mallah (1990) is interested in human vulnerability in both a positive and negative sense. Over the past nine years, his paintings and drawings predominantly focused on processing war trauma and grief. This was prompted by his memories of the war in Syria and his experiences with statelessness as a result of the international community’s refusal to unequivocally acknowledge the state of Palestine, Mallah’s country of birth.

Although these conflicts and experiences remain very relevant today, the artist’s practice has recently taken a different turn. Last year Mallah met his new love, the artist Rebecca Lillich Krüger, and since the summer the two have been working together as an artist duo. “I feel tenderness, I feel love, I feel hope. These are the things I want to focus on instead of just grief. It was good to work on processing everything, but also difficult. I am now more in touch with gentleness,” Mallah explains.

Together the duo performs ‘tasks’: rituals to explore positive vulnerabilities. They jointly research trust, safety, and communication with the aim of allowing their relationship to grow. The work Mallah and Lillich Krüger are presenting at Prospects is Task 1 (2023), a multimedia installation and performance featuring a ladder as a symbol of trust. The video shows how the artists take turns holding the ladder while the other one climbs it. We are thus made witness to the intimate development of their mutual support. At set times during the exhibition, the artists will give performances featuring the same ladder.

Text: Milo Vermeire

Translation from Dutch to English: Marie Louise Schoondergang