FAMILIY STORIES
Kabul 2011–12
Oil on canvas, video, 13 sound tracks
10 paintings 60 x 45 cm
Afghan painter Ustad Amin Sharif commissioned by the artist Jeanno Gaussi

In 2008, during her first trip back to Kabul since 1978, when she left the country as an infant without her parents (with whom she reunited some years later), Gaussi met Ustad Sharif Amin, a painter of signs, billboards, and commissioned pieces, whose shop was near her home.

He told her that he had managed to survive the collapse and trauma of war through painting. Having always felt estranged from her family history, Gaussi decided to give him the thirty images that, out of many albums, her parents had been able to take with them when they left Afghanistan and that, for her, had always lacked clarity or continuity.

She asked him to replicate half of these original images in paintings. In Family Stories (2011-12), made up of Sharif’s paintings and Gaussi’s recordings of her conversations with him after he had finished each work, Sharif becomes a mediator, a decoder, an investigator able to bring to the surface possible traces of the truth, to reach a sort of objective knowledge. But the question that arises is, can these mediated memories and information fragments build a personal past, or are they simply a constructed reality, a fiction?

(Excerpt from: Andrea Viliani, documenta13: The Guidebook, 2012)