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Ruptures: A many sided Story was produced as a triptych video installation for the Venice Biennale in 2003.


Salem Mekuria

Salem Mekuria, Mark Gunning

Rachelle Dang


Funded by the LEF Foundation. Additional credits available upon request.

A Triptych Video Installation | By Salem Mekuria


RUPTURES is a triptych video installation that frames the recent political history of Ethiopia from a personal point of view placing it within the multi-faceted geographic, social and cultural history of the nation. It is designed to provide viewers a close-up experience of this history as they stand before and move about the images. It offers a range of possible interpretations of the events and roles of the players that have shaped this complex history.

RUPTURES is designed to reference the traditional Ethiopian Orthodox religious art. The triptych is a ubiquitous presence in all facets of the traditional art form. While the reference is appropriate in the sense of its on-going influence on both art and life of present-day Ethiopia, the motif allows me to experiment with juxtaposition of images, events, stories and ideas, opening new ways of understanding this history and limiting the compartmentalization of the experience.

In Ethiopia today, the past, the present and the future co-exist on the same plane and are experienced simultaneously in the present. Time is circular; one is never too far from encounters with the pre-historic, the pre-modern, the modern and the post-modern in the course of a few moments. Even as new images appear in the triptych, the old presences are never far from the surface. The triptych motif provides me with the opportunity to explore this existential fact.



Venice Biennale, 2003

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