Annabel Daou

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signs and symbols is delighted to present Annabel Daou’s FORTUNE as our first performance in-residence at the gallery. FORTUNE will take place every Sunday (beginning on June 30th) for a residency duration of 6 months.

In this ongoing project, members of the public are solicited to partake in an intimate exchange in which they present their palms and receive their fortunes transcribed onto paper for a small fee. The reading/writing is entirely silent. It is structured around two questions: “where are you coming from?” and “where are you going to?”

Considered in a social and historical context, the figure of the fortune-teller raises questions about superstition and belief as well as class, gender, and cross-cultural interaction. The fortune-teller is at once a subject of suspicion and someone in whom trust is precariously placed. She is a dealer in the underground economy of desire and expectation. Fortune-telling is ubiquitous in urban life even though it is illegal in many places including New York City. In the depths of Dante’s Inferno the fortune-tellers walk with their heads on backwards, punished for presuming to see the future.


annabel daou’s work takes place at the intersection of writing, speech, and nonverbal communication. Her paper-and-tape constructions, sound pieces, and performances explore the language of power and intimacy. She uses repetition and subtle shifts in the iteration of idioms and ordinary speech as a means of interrogating shared experience and misunderstanding.

Daou was born and raised in Beirut and lives in Brooklyn. Recent projects and exhibitions include: The Naked Truth: A European History at Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede (2019); The Living Room (UIT) at ISCP, New York (2019); Chou Hayda, an audio work at the National Museum of Beirut (2018-2019); Privacy In Public a project in the New York Public Libraries (2019); and if you only knew, a solo show at Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin (2018).

FORTUNE, her ongoing silent fortune-telling project, has taken place in numerous institutional and non-institutional contexts.