Sharjah Art Foundation’s 2021 spring programme inspirational - GulfToday

Sharjah Art Foundation’s 2021 spring programme inspirational

sharjah art 1

Rayyane Tabet, Ah, my beautiful Venus! (detail), 2017.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Sharjah Art Foundation’s (SAF) spring 2021 programme includes Unsettled Objects (Mar. 12 — Jun. 15, 2021), an exhibition composed mostly of newly acquired and rare works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, that, it is hoped, encourages the viewer to reconsider how the colonial imagination is reconstructed.

It is the first presentation of the Collection to be held in the newly renovated Flying Saucer, one of Sharjah’s architectural landmarks, and is curated by Omar Kholeif, the Foundation’s Director of Collections and Senior Curator.

The exhibition draws its title from a major new acquisition by the late conceptual artist Lothar Baumgarten, Unsettled Objects (1968–1969), which is a slide carousel projection that unfolds the hidden characteristics behind the foundational artefacts of Western museum collections.


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The spring 2021 season also features the exhibition Rayyane Tabet: Exquisite Corpse (Mar. 12 — Jun. 15, 2021). Included is Basalt Shards (2017), an expansive installation of 1,000 charcoal rubbings made from the shattered remains of the Tell Halaf artefacts (northeast Syria), that reveal their violent separation from their original context.

In Ah, my beautiful Venus! (2017), Tabet has made foil pressings from an archaeological cast of a carved stone figure. The delicate impressions of face and hands, sitting atop basalt tiles quarried in southern Syria, are shown with the shipping records for the construction material, charting a journey into Europe and now, the United Arab Emirates.

In Exquisite Corpse (2017), the work from which the exhibition takes its title, military tents used in Western ground offensives in the Levant, North Africa and the Arabian Gulf, recall a traditional Bedouin jacket that doubles as both personal garment and provisional shelter.

In Portrait of Faek Borkhoche (2021), Tabet liberates material from numerous physical archives, including his great-grandfather’s never-before-seen field notes, as an intervention into this history.

sharjah art 2  Artwork from Hassan Sharif.

Finally, Digital Surrogates (2021), a new web project that houses images of artefacts and Tabet’s own artwork, explores the possibilities offered by digital preservation and circulation.

An exhibition booklet features a curatorial essay on the evolution of the project and the development of the SAF presentation. The text is accompanied by commissioned writing by Omar Dewachi, Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick; Uzma Rizvi, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; and Andrea Wallace, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Exeter.

Also being hosted are Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11 (till Apr.10, 2021), which marks the artist’s decade-long collaboration with the foundation and the wider Sharjah community through a range of experimental and innovative musical forms, and Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket, which presents some of the artist’s seminal works in film, photography and installation.

Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11, curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, centres around experimental and innovative musical forms. It offers audiences opportunities to learn about and explore instrument-making, compositional structure and musical collaboration.

Cycles in 11 will also be the starting point for a regional and international residency programme that will extend into 2022. Musicians, composers and artists are being invited to develop new work for the residency, either individually or with different audiences in Sharjah.

In Sharjah’s east coast city of Kalba, a sound lab will be set up close to the emirate’s natural reserves and archaeological sites.

Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist was originally organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and curated by Hoor Al Qasimi as the largest and most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, the fourth iteration of the international tour of Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist, co-curated by Al Qasimi and Aurélie Voltz, General Director of MAMC+ (Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole, France).

It will be on view at MAMC+ (Mar. 5 — Sept. 26, 2021).Tracing nearly five decades of the artist’s multimedia practice, including painting, sculpture, assemblage, drawing, installation and photography as well as later works on view for the first time, the landmark retrospective is the culmination of Sharif’s lifelong role as an advocate and pioneer for the development of contemporary art and thought in the United Arab Emirates, particularly in Sharjah, where he first began staging interventions and exhibitions of contemporary art and exhibited at the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993.

I Am The Single Work Artist traces the development of Sharif’s conceptual art practice from 1973 to 2016, highlighting his unprecedented influence through key series revisited throughout his life, that illustrate his enduring social and philosophical reflections on mathematical systems, time and the banality of the everyday.

For over thirty years, Zarina Bhimji’s work has enquired into image, object, sound and language, searching for the universal in both its literal and abstract manifestations.

This major survey, organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and curated by Hoor Al Qasimi (Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket, till Apr. 10, 2021), features the artist’s early exploration into forms of knowledge overlooked by established systems of order, as well as her later exploration of architecture and landscape as arbiters of complex experience and emotion.

In her film works Out of Blue (2002), Yellow Patch (2011) and Jangbar (2015), constituting a central axis of the exhibition, she uses the camera as a subjective, painterly tool.

Unfurling across multiple views and lands (Uganda, the United Kingdom, India, Zanzibar and Kenya, among others), the images ask how we can understand ourselves at different points in time.

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