Souleyman El-Halebi, born in 1777, Egyptian theology student of Islamic Studies in Cairo. Died at the age of 23, impaled as assassin.

The copperplate print "The Murderer Returning to the Scene of Crime" (2013), digitally retouched by the anonymous film collective Abounaddara from Syria, depicts El-Halebi's side profile and shows the image of a young man whose fate, despite everything, longs for a dignified portrayal.

Similar to the digital collage of Abounaddara, their work "On Revolution" (2017), shown at documenta 14, tells stories from within the Syrian society. With a running time of 140 minutes, the digital film premiered on September 14, 2017, at the BALi cinema in Kassel, Germany, and was commented by Charif Kiwan, the only known member and spokesperson of the collective today.


The theme Abounaddara is focusing on with “On Revolution” is not a repeatedly brutal form of media presence and depiction of murder and misery. Rather it pursues an opposite purpose: to give people back their face and dignity. Based on individually presented stories and their interconnections, various images are created which, even if bloody scenes are avoided, have a strong emotional impact and create an alternative image of Syria.

The country's political situation, in the midst of the misery-filled revolution, lies like a veil over the film collective's recordings. Yet, surrounded by destroyed landscapes, buildings and inhumane conditions, these are not the only means of attracting attention. Rather, the focus is set on images that depict life instead of war. Therefore, it is Abounaddara's declared aim to let a humanity and dignity speak that has been lost for years in photographs of war and upheaval. Instead of politically influential media images, "On Revolution" gives people a voice, who are often only spoken about from the outside of the country.


The publications of documenta 14, published press reviews and a variety of other material relating to the exhibition - as well as to the film collective Abounaddara and its work at documenta 14 - can be viewed by prior appointment in the reading room of the documenta archive.


Laura Diermann