Raeda Saadeh (*1977, Palestine) was born in Umm al-Fahm in 1977 and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, where she lives today. In her work, the artist often takes on different personae, which can be interpreted as radical feminist statements and as conceptual comments about social and religious issues. In her enactment of mythical figures and fairy tale characters such as Diana, Penelope and Rapunzel, Raeda Saadeh decontextualises Israel’s idealised landscapes, exploring the actual situation of the occupied areas and the crossing of social and (especially) gender-specific, standardised borders. The two-channel video performance Vacuum shows the artist vacuuming the barren hills of Palestine. This absurd but simple act not only casts a critical shadow on gender roles, but also relocates the act of vacuuming and cleaning, which is traditionally ascribed to women, from the private sphere into a politically charged space. Saadeh’s work uses the body as a tool to explore identity, gender and space as well as the relationship between place and the self. Her performances, videos and photo works are preoccupied with borders as a cultural, topographical and physical phenomenon.
We see a woman’s face, motionless and her mouth wide open. It takes a while to realise that drops of water are falling into her mouth, drops that begin to sound like the ticking of a clock. In this quiet, almost meditative scene, a change occurs that is practically imperceptible. Water begins to trickle out of the side of the woman’s mouth and down her cheek, while her face remains expressionless. Toward the end of the video performance, the woman closes her mouth, only to open it again – caught in a loop between dying of thirst and drowning, the procedure begins again. KB, BS
Courtesy Raeda Saadeh