Biennial Curators to Organise Foundation’s Annual March Meeting
Presented During Sharjah Biennial 14
Sharjah, UAE – 1 October 2018 – Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) will feature nearly 90 established and emerging artists from around the globe, over 60 new commissions, as well as many never-before-seen works in the next Sharjah Biennial. Open to the public from 7 March to 10 June 2019, the 14th edition of the Sharjah Biennial (SB14), Leaving the Echo Chamber, will explore the possibilities and purpose of producing art when news is fed by a monopoly of sources, history is increasingly fictionalised, when ideas of ‘society’ are invariably displaced, and when borders and beliefs are dictated by cultural, social and political systems.
Curators Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons, who have collaboratively conceived the SB14 theme, will present three distinct exhibitions bringing together a range of experiences and works—including major commissions, large-scale public installations, performances and film—to create a series of provocations about how one might re-negotiate the shape, form, and function of the ‘echo chamber’ of contemporary life, towards a multiplying of the echoes within. Such vibration is representative of the vast forms of human production — its rituals, beliefs and customs. Butt, Kholeif, and Tancons will also spearhead three distinct programmatic approaches for SAF’s March Meeting, an annual convening of local and international artists, curators, scholars and other arts practitioners who explore topical issues in contemporary art through a programme of talks and performances. March Meeting 2019 will coincide with the opening of SB14. Full programme details and participants will be announced in 2019.
‘Contemporary life is dominated by competing information and fluctuating histories—a reality that raises important questions about the trajectory of contemporary art, as well as the conditions in which it is made,’ said Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. ‘Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif, and Claire Tancons bring incredibly different perspectives to these questions, and together represent the complexity of challenges faced by today’s artists and society as a whole. The aim of the Biennial is to deepen the context of these questions through thought-provoking and often experiential works of art, and the March Meeting will complement and provide opportunities to explore these works and the Biennial theme more deeply.’
On view in buildings and courtyards across the city’s arts and heritage areas, as well as in SAF’s studios in Al Hamriyah, in the East Coast city of Kalba and other spaces in Sharjah, Leaving the Echo Chamber will explore subjects ranging from migration and diaspora, to concepts of time and interpreted histories – giving artists the agency to explore stories that echo in a different way, revealing differing means of connecting, surviving and sustaining a collective humanity.
The complete selection of participating artists follows below. Artist biographies and full curatorial statements are available at sharjahart.org/biennial-14.
Journey Beyond the Arrow, curated by Zoe Butt
Journey Beyond the Arrow aspires to provide deeper context to the movement of humanity and the tools that have enabled or hindered its survival. From spiritual ritual to cultural custom, technological process to political rule of law, all such practices possess particular objects and actions that aid or abet mobility. In this exhibition, artists reveal the generational impact of a range of physical and psychological ‘tools’, and how the representations and meanings of these tools have shifted as a consequence of colonial exploit, social and religious conflict or ideological extremism. Journey Beyond the Arrow seeks to illuminate the necessity of exchange and diversity across the globe and throughout human history.
The exhibition will feature new commissions by Khadim Ali, Kawayan de Guia, Carlos Garaicoa, Meiro Koizumi, Jompet Kuswidananto, Neo Muyanga, Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, Phan Thảo Nguyên, Ho Tzu Nyen, Lisa Reihana, Ampannee Satoh, Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan, Kidlat Tahimik, and Qiu Zhijie, as well as works by Antariksa, Shiraz Bayjoo, Adriana Bustos, Rohini Devasher, GUDSKUL, Léuli Eshrāghi, Anawana Haloba, Roslisham Ismail (Ise), Nalini Malani, Lee Mingwei, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Mark Salvatus, Xu Zhen, Lantian Xie and 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit.
Making New Time, curated by Omar Kholeif
Responding to the overall theme of Leaving the Echo Chamber, Making New Time is a provocation on how material culture can be reimagined through the lens of a group of artists whose political agency, whose activism, and whose astute observations encourage us to extend beyond the limits of belief. The exhibition considers how economies have formed around technological culture, how narrative is created and deconstructed, and how these forces enable a reconstitution, or indeed a restitution of a history lost, or even unknown. Drifting in and out of hegemonies and entrenched structures of power; here, the sensorial and the bodily intertwine, becoming archaeological sediments in the landscape of Sharjah, imploring the viewer to consider their complicity in a world that is forever fleeting from our hands.
The exhibition will feature new commissions by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Sophia Al-Maria, Cory Arcangel, Marwa Arsanios, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, Candice Breitz, Ian Cheng, Shezad Dawood, Stan Douglas, Alfredo Jaar, Ann Veronica Janssens, Otobong Nkanga with Emeka Ogboh , Bruno Pacheco, Heather Phillipson, Jon Rafman, Pamela Rosenkranz, Hrair Sarkissian, Amie Siegel, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Munem Wasif and Akram Zaatari, as well as works by Semiha Berksoy, Huguette Caland, Lubaina Himid, Barbara Kasten, Astrid Klein, Marwan, Michael Rakowitz and Anwar Jelal Shemza.
Look for Me All Around You, curated by Claire Tancons
Look for Me All Around You is an open platform of migrant images and fugitive forms concerned with the alternatively dispossessive and repossessive disposition of diasporisation as an aporetic phenomenon of the contemporary. Conceived as a contrapuntal proposal to the realm of the retinal embedded within hegemonic structures of looking, learning, and feeling, Look for Me All Around You is an address to the redistribution of the sensible and a call for the repossession of perception. In Look for Me All Around You, what is being ‘looked for’ is not what is being ‘looked at’—if only it could be seen. Composed of multiple scores drawn from the many scales of Sharjah as city, emirate, and peninsular territory, Look for Me All Around You straddles the lines of the cosmo-ecological, the techno-sensorial and the museo-imaginal in response to human and material displacement and digitalization to stand witness to the imperilment of the contemporary in the atomised space between ‘me’ and ‘you.’
This platform will be primarily comprised of new commissions, with more artists to be announced later. Featured artists include Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Caline Aoun, Leo Asemota, Aline Baiana, Hannah Black, Mohamed Bourouissa, Jace Clayton, Christopher Cozier, Annie Dorsen, Torkwase Dyson, Alaa Edris, Alia Farid, Peter Friedl, Meschac Gaba, Nikolaus Gansterer, Eisa Jocson, Isabel Lewis, Daniel Lie, Laura Lima, Ulrik López, Carlos Martiel, Suchitra Mattai, Mohau Modisakeng, New Orleans Airlift, Tracey Rose, Wael Shawky, Caecilia Tripp and Wu Tsang.
About Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region, and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators, and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions; and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.
Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work, and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.
Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.
Sharjah is the third-largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and has been designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa