Layth Kareem lives and works in Lyon, FR

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Layth Kareem, The City Limits, 2014, video, color and b/w, sound, 10′43′′, video still © Layth Kareem

Layth Kareem’s 2014 video, The City Limits, explores the psychological landscape of Iraq amid the constant threat of death. Since the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90), car bombs have come to signify the violent uncertainty of political strife in the Arab world, and this is particularly true in Baghdad: an explosion erupts on a busy street, terrorizing daily life and leaving death and fear in its wake.

For this project, Kareem asked friends, fellow artists, family members, and neighbors to gather in a junkyard that was a site of violence in 2006, creating a space for them to respond to this relentless terror. By isolating participants inside an abandoned car, the artist provides them, both literally and figuratively, with a private, secluded space to respond to the images and experiences suffered in daily life and thereby transforms—even if just for a moment—victims of circumstance into agents of their own emotional expression.

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Layth Kareem, The City Limits, 2014, video, color and b/w, sound, 10′43′′, video still © Layth Kareem

We witness in the video a sense of community: a gathering of individuals brought together by trust and willingness to partake and collaborate with the artist and the artistic community producing and documenting the project. Artistic production is thus a shared event, serving as a critical vehicle for engagement with the city.

Sarah Rogers

Exhibitions

documenta fifteen, 2022, Fridericianum, Kassel (DE)

City Limits, 2017, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, Doha (QA)

The Space of the Cafe, 2017, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, Doha (QA)