NYUAD Art Gallery traces artists via digital archives and reunions - GulfToday

NYUAD Art Gallery traces artists via digital archives and reunions

sharjah art

Scenes from Permanent Temporariness at The NYUAD Art Gallery, 2018.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery will launch its fourth digital archive, Permanent Temporariness, as part of its TRACE: Archives and Reunions, on July 7. First shown in 2018 at The NYUAD Art Gallery, Permanent Temporariness was curated by Arab art historian and NYUAD faculty Salwa Mikdadi and The NYUAD Art Gallery’s former curator, Bana Kattan. It marked the first institutional retrospective of the path breaking conceptual artists/architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti.For this TRACE event, artists Hilal and Petti will reunite with Mikdadi, Kattan and Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery, Maya Allison, to trace the exhibition from the origins of the various installations, to their re-staging at The NYUAD Art Gallery in 2018, to the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 2019.

Taking place via Zoom Webinar, the panellists will explore how the context changes the meaning and relevance of the exhibition, as well as its intention and message. In addition, the artists will talk about how the exhibition led to their latest publication of the same name, which accounts for 15 years of research and experimentation.

Tracing: Permanent Temporariness, marks the launch of the exhibition’s digital archive, enabling audiences to access materials, including an audio tour and a photo gallery, as well as the Youth Guide and the exhibition’s brochures.


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Mikdadi specialises in the history of modern and contemporary art of the Arab world. Prior to joining the NYUAD, she worked at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority where she established the professional development programme for museum professionals, including a customised executive programme (2012 - 2014).

She was a lecturer at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi in the postgraduate programme - History of Art and Museum Studies (2010-2014). She was also the Executive Director of the Arts and Culture Program at the Emirates Foundation in Abu Dhabi (2009-2012).

Kattan was the Museum of Contemporary Art Barjeel Global Fellow in Chicago. In the last decade, Hilal and Petti have developed a research and project-based artistic practice that is both theoretically ambitious and practically engaged in the struggle for justice and equality.

sharjah art 3 Scenes from Permanent Temporariness at The NYUAD Art Gallery.

They founded Campus in Camps, an experimental educational programme hosted in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, with the aim to overcome conventional educational structures by creating a space for critical and knowledge production, connected to greater transformations and the democratisation of society.

Campus in Camps has offshoots today in other Palestinian camps and is linked in a consortium with universities around the world. In 2007, they founded DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) in Beit Sahour, Palestine, with the aim to combine an architectural studio and an art residency. It gathered together architects, artists, activists, urbanists, film-makers and curators, to work collectively on the subjects of politics and architecture.

Their artist practice has received the following awards: Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College; Loeb Fellowship Harvard University; Price Claus Prize for Architecture; shortlisted for Visible Award; the Curry Stone Design Prize; the New School’s Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics; the Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Artist Award; the Chrnikov Prize and they have been the recipients of the Foundation for Art initiatives grant.

Previous NYUAD Art Gallery-hosted digital exhibition archives included (June 23) Tracing: Ways of Seeing, which was a roundtable with curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Directors of the Boghossian Foundation - Villa Empain and Allison, exploring how the curators conceptualised the exhibition for each region.

The panellists investigated how where we are, changes how we see. The discussion also connected to today’s circumstances, asking: “At a time when most travel has been curtailed due to the pandemic, will the concept of ‘region’ shift in light of our heightened virtual existence, across time-zones?”

Tracing: ZIMOUN (June 9), was a new performance for headphones in the dark, where Zimoun performed a newly-composed audio artwork, to be experienced online. Zimoun is known for his analog, abstract sculptural installations, which produce immersive sound experiences that are direct, visceral, and non-narrative.

In keeping with this direct relationship between sound and the physical world, the performance presented an immersive audio work to be experienced on headphones, in the dark (with eyes closed, or lights off, or blindfold on).

Tracing: Speculative Landscapes (May 19), involved Areej Kaoud, Ayman Zedani, Jumairy and Raja’a Khalid, where the exhibition’s curator, Allison, caught up with the artists, looking back at the archives of what the exhibition created and looking forward to what they are working on. The artists and curator talked about where they are now – literally and metaphorically – and how they are experiencing this new era.

Established in 2014, The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery is the Gulf’s first and only university gallery with a programme of scholarly and experimental museum exhibitions. The programme seeks to map new territories and ideas through presenting exhibitions by internationally established artists, curators, and scholars at its main space. Its auxiliary venue, the Project Space, is an exhibition laboratory for the university community and for emerging artists and curators. Situated within NYU Abu Dhabi, the community, of which hails from over 115 countries, The Art Gallery organises free public programmes and guided tours in conjunction with its exhibitions.

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