Be Patient 2011
Installation: Barbed wire, on the wall and on MDF board,
Sound: duration 1:00 min. loop.
Installation views: Vigeland Museet- Oslo, Gallery 0047 - Oslo, Luleo Kunsthall-Sweeden, 10th Arte Laguna Prize / International Art Contest, Arsenale, Venice, Italy, Kunstnerens Hus - Oslo, Meken Konsthall - Smedjebacken, Sweden. The work is a part of The City of Oslo Art Collection .
Photo credits: Shwan D. Q.
The inspiration behind this installation is a rejection letter from The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration on Shwan Dler Qaradaki´s application for residence permit after living 10 years-legally in Norway. He has “translated” the letter and used barbed wire in a way that it can be “read” like a page in an official letter. He cut the barbed wire with pliers into different sizes in accordance with the words from the actual letter. Afterwards he put together the lines by using nails and the barbed wire. He placed the barbed wire upon the nails and matched the spacing between the “words” to the actual letter.
In addition a sound file is played along the installation. The sound file is a recording from the answering machine at The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration saying the following in Norwegian: Du er fortsatt i kø, men vi vil hjelpe deg så snart vi kan (You are still in line, please hold, we will help you as soon as possible.)
Be Patient is a rare artwork. It is simple yet profound, easy to understand yet complex, deeply personal yet not private. The viceral symbolism of barbed wire is used to depict a letter of rejection from the Norwegian immigration department. The letter it scaled to giant, razor sharp size to emphasise the brutality of such bureaucratic formulae.
Simply put, if you are waiting for asylum, your life is not only on hold, but by extension in the balance. The letter you receive can mean life or death. The banality of bureaucratic office speak comes through in all its indifferent cruelty with the soundtrack accompanying the piece, indeed one could call it the titular soundtrack. The constant, almost torturous refrain, be patient, which forms the bassline of undermanned governmental telcommunications.
In the context of Qaradakis piece, this mantra can feel like telling an inmate on death row to be patient while he or she waits for execution or reprieve. That notwithstanding the work contains one the main characteristics inherent in all Qaradakis output... great humilty, humanity and heart.
The work is, in its truest and humblest sense, monumental.