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Since 1998, Ringier, the Swiss-based global media company, has traditionally commissioned an artist to design its annual report. Publisher Michael Ringier and curator Beatrix Ruf initiated this series as a means of reinforcing the links between art and the activities of the company.
For the 2021 edition published in 2022, the invitation was given to artist Walid Raad. His project Another Festival of Gratitude: An Annual Report is based on a book he found in a flea market in Medusa in 2009. The notebook contains a handwritten note as well as colored forms and words connected by lines. Intrigued by the note about floating words, their smell, and the attempt to build sentences, Raad began the search for the unknown author. The artist was able to retrace some of the composite sentences of the notebook in various newspaper articles published in North America, Europe, and the Middle East between 1989 and 2005, but no further sighting of its creator was forthcoming.
Some pages of this found book are now reproduced for the Ringier Annual Report. Presented in a box, 36 loose sheets of paper show the colorful word and form compositions; the texts from the Ringier company report appear on the verso. The latter ones are “‘edited by foul-mouthed, cynical, know-it-all shit detector of a reader,”, as the artists states. The artist explains: “On the front, words, lines, colors, and shapes that drift and connect. On the back, words, lines, colors, and shapes that try to close ranks; on the front, someone trying to keep it together, to get a grip; on the back, someone’s trying to keep it together, to keep the ship afloat.”
Walid Raad (born 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon) is one of the most important artists of his generation from the Middle East. His works include photographs, videos, sculptures, installations, and performances. His ongoing art projects are The Atlas Group (1989–2004), Scratching on Things I Could Disavow (2007–present), and Sweet Talk: Commissions (1987–present).
Raad participated in documentas 11 and 13. He has held solo shows at, among others, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and MoMA in New York.
Published by Ringier AG; limited edition.