Rabih Mroué (1967, Beirut) is a challenging visual and performance artist, whose practice investigates truth and fiction, and the mechanisms, varieties and social implications of fabricating ‘truth’. Founded on the Lebanese experience of civil war and its aftermath, his work is highly relevant in the current global context. Mroué’s plays, performances, videos and installations draw audiences into personal experience of assessing truth. They include Looking for a Missing Employee (2003), which presents the mass of rumours, accusations and false reports in official government evidence; Photo-Romance (2006), examining censorship and civil courage in totalitarian contexts; and The Inhabitants of Images (2009), an encounter with the generation of political mythologies.
Three Posters (2000) shows a discovered tape of a suicide fighter recording three different versions of his final testimony, and international responses to that work in the post 9/11 situation and the role of media images are presented in On Three Posters (2004). I, The Undersigned (2007) presents Mroué’s apology for his part in the civil war, which includes ‘not being kidnapped or assassinated’, and interrogates the range of fabrications surrounding responsibility and patriotism.
Meticulously conceived and staged, Mroué’s works are more often than not joint artistic productions with his partner, Lina Saneh. Mroué also holds several visiting professorships, is contributing editor of The Drama Review and the Lebanese quarterly Kalamon, and is a co-founder of the Beirut Art Centre.
Rabih Mroué received the 2011 Prince Claus Award for his radical interrogation of memory, power and the construction of truth, for creating direct audience encounters with and methods for analysing the instability of meaning, for stimulating critical social engagement by exposing and opening up discussion on sensitive issues, and for offering a moral voice emphasising individual responsibility.