- This event has passed.
Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber
The theme for SB14 – which runs 7 March to 10 June 2019 – suggests circuitous news media and its attendant feeds that are reinforced by a closed system, a network that is controlled and governed by private sources, governments and corporations. The Echo Chamber is also a metaphor for the historical dominance of Capital and the cultural, social and political systems which dictate its access, production and distribution – this ‘capital’ wooing (and thus privileging) particular image, language, skill, history and geography. Most tangibly, the Echo Chamber is the space wherein sound hits and reverberates, where memory and imagination echo across surface, space and time.
‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’ seeks to put into conversation a series of provocations on how one might re-negotiate the shape, form and function of this chamber. What does it mean to demand alternate images at a time when news saturation is spoon-fed to us by a monopoly of sources? How do we expand our narratives by acknowledging what has been hidden or removed? How can we reflect on our own culturally located histories in an era whereby so many individuals have been forced to believe that they must surrender their own agency to the mainstream forces that exist and govern our world?
Curators Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons conceived the SB14 theme in collaboration, but the three will present distinct exhibitions that aim 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 representative of the vast forms of human production—its rituals, beliefs and customs” (that’s the PR blurb again).
“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
Journey Beyond the Arrow: curated by Zoe Butt
Journey Beyond the Arrow seeks to illuminate the necessity of exchange and diversity across the globe and throughout human history; it 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.
New commissions: 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, Qiu Zhijie
Also: 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, 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit
Making New Time: curated by Omar Kholeif
Making New Time is a provocation on how material culture can be reimagined through artists whose political agency, whose activism, and whose astute observations encourage us to see 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 unknown. The viewers are invited to consider their complicity in a world that is forever fleeting from our hands.
New commissions: 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, Akram Zaatari
Also: Semiha Berksoy, Huguette Caland, Lubaina Himid, Barbara Kasten, Astrid Klein, Marwan, Michael Rakowitz, 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. Look for Me All Around You is an address to the redistribution of the sensible and a call for the repossession of perception; what is being “looked for” is not what is being “looked at” – if only it could be seen. 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 digitalisation.
This platform will mainly comprise 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, Wu Tsang.
There’s more about the artists and the curators here. Butt, Kholeif, and Tancons will also spearhead three distinct programmatic approaches for SAF’s March Meeting, the annual gathering of artists, curators, scholars and other arts practitioners who explore topical issues in contemporary art through a programme of talks and performances. March Meeting 2019 coincides with the opening of SB14.
Other Sharjah Biennial 14 events include film screenings, music, performance and a range of educational programmes: the full programme for the first week is here, but check the website for more details and booking info.