The Art Newspaper: HADANI DITMARS
An eerie display at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto evokes both a presence and an absence: a row of white bookshelves filled with thousands of identical white covered books—all blank inside. The challenge for the public is to fill the void. The project, called 168:01, is the latest iteration of a travelling installation by the Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal as a response to the looting and destruction of cultural institutions during war.
The title of the work refers to the 13th-century Mongol siege of Baghdad, which lasted for seven days, or 168 hours. According to legend, books and manuscripts pillaged from the city’s libraries were dumped into the Tigris River until it ran black with ink; the books were said to form a bridge for the occupying army until the tomes were gradually drained of all colour and knowledge. …Read More