The Song of Silence is a solo work by Saudi artist Muhannad Shono that explores the limits of singular narratives by speculating on the ambiguity of what is held as truth, ontologies, and the rudimentary postulations of human life. The presentation skillfully illustrates the artist’s dedication to the exercise of creative agency, recognizing it irrepressible and an embodiment of a living imagination that flourishes despite doctrines that seek to repress it. It builds upon the central concepts within his practice, questioning the self, tradition, mythology, and the natural world.
The presentation is inspired by the destiny of the archangel Israfel who must play the trumpet that will annihilate all of existence. It expands upon an earlier work by the artist presented at the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale titled, ‘The Teaching Tree’, delving into ideas of creative resistance in the backdrop of restrictions to creative expression, the reformation of the lived world though the harnessing and unlocking of human imagination. It bears testament to the resilience and power of human creation and expression.
To explore ideas of resilience and regeneration, the artist materializes notions of sound. The presentation is inspired by the lore of Israfel who was bound by duty and burdened by the weight of his destiny. Upon witnessing the profound impact of his obligation, he abdicates his role to free himself and ultimately open the possibilities of his existence to the imagination. The manifestation of this resilience and regeneration is explored in both the natural world and within human imagination, and how each space can influence the state and forming of the other.