Watch and Listen

The Book Shelf 2 by Kirubel Melke Alemu

Using recycled and embroidered fabrics, artist Kirubel Melke Alemu creates works with a strong narrative potential that question the use of clothing, textiles and their connotations

Kirubel Melke Alemu
The Book Shelf 2
Embroidered fabrics on printed fabrics on loose canvas
144,5 x 1412,5 cm

Narrated by Olivia Fahmy, Curator of the collection of contemporary african art and of the diaspora.

In his work The Book Shelf 2, artist Kirubel Melke Alemu creates an enigmatic scene. A revolver is placed on a table and a book appears to have fallen onto the floor. What silent drama is being played out then in this piece? While the title The Book Shelf 2 is a reference to the shelves of books in the background, it is nevertheless on the basis of clothes, with their social connotations and narrative potential, that the artist works. Books hold a prominent place in many of his artworks. They evoke the relationship to knowledge. Here, they are shaped from traditional Ethiopian fabrics that have been recycled and embroidered, while the chair and table are composed of strips of jeans fabric, a symbol of the global clothing market. Perhaps it is less about the location of a crime than the tension between the traditional knowledge and the rapidity of the exchanges in today’s world represented in a scene of a dull violence.