Shadi Habib Allah
Marat Bathtub, 2013, steel sheets, fiberglass, 127 x 90 x 64 cm, Installation view at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome
Marat Bathtub (2013) was first exhibited at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome as part of the exhibition ‘Empire State’ curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal and Alex Gartenfeld, and will travel to the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Pantin in Fall 2013. In this work, Habib Allah has created a single sculpture, a reproduction of the bathtub in which Jean-Paul Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday, freighted with the weight of failed historical revolutions and their representations. The form meditates on the potential for sites of insurrection today, and implicates the quotidian domestic environment in these questions. Interestingly, Marat’s original bathtub does not reside in a state museum or official archive. Instead, it is on permanent display in a wax museum in Paris, amidst a kitschy scene in which mannequins reenact Jacques-Louis David’s famous painting. This cheap spectacle begs questions of the legacy of prior revolutionary periods and asks us to consider political change in the present.