Voices from the Interior
Group Exhibition of Female Palestinian Video Artists @ MECA
April 30, 2013
The Middle East Center for the Arts (MECA) presents Voices From the Interior: Palestinian Women Artists, an ambitious and unprecedented showcase of video art by six Palestinian women living and working in Israel. The contemporary feminist artists address the complex social, political and historic challenges faced by women living in the Middle East, exploring issues of identity, nationalism and gender. The opening celebration on May 4 at Mana Contemporary will feature a special performance by Raida Adon, a renowned artist and educator whose bold feminist works are prominently featured in the exhibition.
Curated by Said Abu Shakra, Founder and Director of the Umm el-Fahem Gallery in Israel, the exhibition reveals the two-fold challenge that the artists face in their everyday lives. As women in a male-dominated society, the artists offer a feminist perspective ‘from the interior.’
Nasrin Tabatabai @ Babak Afrassiabi @ Chisenhale Gallery
April 28, 2013
In 2011, Tabatabai and Afrassiabi began a series of works that juxtapose two 20th century archives in the UK and Iran. One produced by British Petroleum (BP, then known as the Anglo Iranian Oil Company) documents the company's operations in Iran beginning in 1908 and ending with the nationalisation of the oil industry in 1951. The other is the collection of modern Western art acquired by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art during the late 1970s and withdrawn from public display for twenty years following the Islamic revolution in 1979. The artists' approach to these archives considers their suspension, through discontinuation (in the case of the oil company) or removal (in the case of the museum).
One of the videos in the installation incorporates documents from the British Petroleum archive relating to a film that was produced by the Anglo Iranian Oil Company in 1948 to present the oil industry's modernising effect on Iran.
Tea with Nefertiti
Group Exhibition of Arab Artists at the Institut du Monde Arabe
April 26, 2013
Le Théorème de Néfertiti (Tea with Nefertiti) explores the visual and literary mechanisms by which artworks come to acquire a range of meanings and functions that can embody a number of diverse, and at times conflicting, narratives. Through employing the Nefertiti bust as a metaphorical thread, and by interrogating the contested history of Egyptian Museum collections from the 19th century onwards, the exhibition is concerned with the critique of museology, the staging of the artwork and the writing of art- historical narrative as a means of forming and informing cultural otherness.
The exhibition is organized along three thematic chapters that reflect on the process of appropriation, de-contextualization and re-semanticisation that an artwork undergoes as it travels through time and place.
From Palestine with Hope
Tarek Al-Ghoussein & Jeffar Khaldi @ Artspace London
April 25, 2013
ARTSPACE LONDON is thrilled to announce the upcoming show, From Palestine With Hope, featuring works by Jeffar Khaldi and Tarek Al-Ghoussein. From Palestine With Hope will challenge the viewers’ perceptions of the human cost in Palestine, as well as their attitudes towards the reality of the consequences of conflict. ARTSPACE LONDON believes that art can nurture hope and peace and this wish for Palestine is strongly seen through the works of Khaldi and Al-Ghoussein.
Both artists have different styles, yet the major theme of a never-ending belief in a Palestinian homeland is striking in both their works. From Palestine With Hope comes at a time when many Palestinians are looking to the future for a life free from aggression, occupation, and conflict.
The Rebellious Attitude
Faisal Samra @ CAP Kuwait
April 18, 2013
The talk will shed light on Samra's work starting from his commencement (1979) until present, stressing on his latest video-installation "Shanty" in particular. He will talk about this installation, the video itself, the storyboard, the making of and the technical information of this project. In "Shanty", Faisal exposes five different personalities and their different types of poverties. Those characters are in a continuous cry for help, as their main concern is to raise awareness about their daily struggle in their lives. Some of them are indifferent and accept their fate with modesty and dignity, and resignation is not an option for them. However, the artist’s primary concern is to showcase the identity sphere of poverty. He does this by drawing the attention of the audience to individuals attempting to break the wall of silence between the social layers of the city. It is off note that the artist immersed himself in the daily life of his characters for several weeks.
From Outside or Otherwise
Neda Zarfsaz and Claudia Parvaneh Djabbari @ Mottahedan Projects
April 15, 2013
The exhibition, From Outside or Otherwise, at Mottahedan Projects, Dubai, presents a pairing of the young artists, Neda Zarfsaz and Claudia Parvaneh Djabbari. Taken from a Platonic principle set forth in The Republic that stresses subjectivity and the impossibility of gaining complete knowledge from an exterior vantage point, the title encourages the viewer to leave the outside or otherwise in order to enter a shared space that envisions an expanded human condition unbound by decay and time.
Both Zarfsaz and Djabbari present the complexity of how we relate to space. Configuring space as collective memory and vice versa, they prove that imagination can be limited and faulty yet also pose alternative, brighter possibilities. In a global context in which artists everywhere face restrictions on freedom of expression, works like those of Zarfsaz and Djabbari offer points of refuge, havens in which vision might overtake eventuality.
Asaad Arabi @ Ayyam Gallery
April 12, 2013
Though Kalthoum remains the focus of the series, in 'Seat of the Forgiven' (2012) the musicians accompanying her take centre stage. These figures and their assortment of instruments are rendered with loose, fluid brushstrokes, imbuing them with a restless energy. Arabi’s fascination with the relationship of the visual to the acoustic is evident throughout his work; he creates paintings that are a testament to the pervasive bond between the act of painting and playing music, two art forms which have drawn on each other for inspiration and stimulation throughout history. Arabi has commented: “Paul Klee and František Kupka claimed that the spiritual dimension of the canvas comes from its fusion with music or in other terms, that it emanates from the sense associated with seeing and hearing - that is, from the heart.”.
Rather than painting static and posed portraits of Kalthoum, he captures her mid-performance – head tilted back and arms held aloft, commanding the audience. In doing so, he invites the viewer to become part of the audience and experience a collective nostalgia for this much-loved singer.
Ut Poesis Pictura
Katayoun Rouhi @ AB Gallery Zurich
April 11, 2013
Some elements run like a red thread through these works: a little girl viewed from behind is standing in front of a tree and writing on its trunk or walking along a forest path surrounded by tiny rows of trees. Taking a closer look, one can see that in some depictions of the tree and in other depictions the girl, sometimes even both, dissolve into Persian calligraphy. It is a poem composed by the artist, but written backwards it cannot be read.
The title of the series insinuates to Horace's in art history well known statement "Ut pictura poesis". He meant that poetry resembles painting and unleashed a long battle between philosophers, artists and poets in relation to the question as to which form of art would provide the most aesthetic pleasure. By exchanging the words "poesis" and "pictura" Katayoun shows that both are interrelated and the two going together hand-in-hand. The relativity of things - everything is only a question of the point of view - is one of Rouhi's focal aspects.
Shawky Youssef @ Green Art Gallery
April 10, 2013
Green Art Gallery is happy to announce a solo show of new works by Lebanese artist Shawki Youssef. “Acid Fields” continues the artist’s investigation of body representation in contemporary art, and acts as an epilogue to his two previous solo shows; “Hollow Flesh” at Agial Gallery, Beirut and “Fluid Being” at Green Art Gallery, Dubai.
Working predominantly on paper, but also on canvas, Youssef’s practice is characterised by his explosive and visceral depictions of the body, often evoking the mutilated subjects found in Francis Bacon’s paintings. Disembodied limbs, embracing torsos and explosive fragments, are constantly in a state of flux, illustrating the effects that disease, war, love and lust, have on the collective. Acting as a diary and archive of what it means to be a body living in the Middle East, Youssef’s anonymous bodies depict the manifestation of emotional trauma externalized.
The Letter that Never Arrived
Bita Ghezelayagh @ Rose Issa Projects
April 9, 2013
“The Letter That Never Arrived” or "Nameh ke Hargez Naresid" in Persian, evokes an interrupted correspondence - personal, cultural and political. “The history of Iran is full of letters from outspoken citizens warning their leaders of the consequences of their actions,” she explains. It could also be about messages, corrections, requests sent to the media, or to countries at war, which are ignored, lost or destroyed. “So, too, the lives of many ordinary Iranians, myself included, are disjointed but also enriched through distance and displacement.”
Ghezelayagh rescues unwanted, often threadbare carpets from homes in the West, and remodels them as shepherd’s cloaks derived from their Middle Eastern origins. She washes, deconstructs, disfigures and re-conceives these textiles, giving them a new life and dignity by placing them on a stand, transforming a floor covering into a sculpture.
Shirin Neshat @ the Detroit Institute of Arts
April 8, 2013
The Detroit Institute of Arts presents Shirin Neshat, a mid-career retrospective of Iranian American artist Shirin Neshat, April 7 – July 7. Neshat is known for her exceptional photography, films and video installations that deal with issues of gender, politics and identity.
The photography and video installations represent 20 years of Neshat’s work. Her richly complex images integrate issues related to Iranian politics and history, images of Muslim women and references to Iranian literature. Her art explores the spaces between her personal aspirations, extraordinary life story, and socio-political situation in Iran, and, by extension, the Muslim world. Though deeply rooted in her Iranian background, Neshat’s work also incorporates universal themes of empowerment, loss, sacrifice, and the human desire for expression.
Group Exhibition of Iranian Artists in London
Works by Tanavoli, Neshat, and Shishegaran to be Displayed
April 5, 2013
From the 25th of April, Opera Gallery London will present the group exhibition of Iranian art, ‘Peace from the Bottom of My Art’, that will bring together a prominent selection of contemporary and internationally renowned Middle Eastern artists including Parviz Tanavoli, Koorosh Shishegaran, Nasrollah Afjei and Ahmad Morshedloo.
The showcase will include highlights from Farsad Labbauf whose work is in the prestige collections of Saatchi Gallery and the Walt Disney Company Foundation to iconic Iranian abstract artist, Koorosh Shishegaran, known for his ‘life like’ three-dimensional work and for being one of the most expressive yet emotive artists of the contemporary Iranian art movement. Shishegaran will be displaying some new paintings, which will be revealed at the private view.
artclvb Launches Qr8
A New Online Platform for Contemporary Middle Eastern Art Galleries and Collections
April 4, 2013
The founders of artclvb, the site showcasing contemporary Middle Eastern art, and REORIENT, the online Middle Eastern arts & culture magazine – Joobin and Shahdad Bekhrad – are pleased to announce the launch of their third site, Qr8.
A unique online platform for contemporary Middle Eastern art, the Qr8 site features works from the collections of leading Middle Eastern art galleries around the world, as well as individual collectors and art enthusiasts, and other organisations.
Working with select institutions and individuals invited to participate in this venture, Qr8 offers a unique and curated assortment of artworks conveniently available for purchase via a simplified sales process.
Halim Al Karim @ XVA Gallery
April 3, 2013
The 'Eternal Love' series is a new body of photographic work from 2010, by Iraqi artist Halim Al Karim. The 'Eternal Love' series follows Al Karim's signature photographic technique, creating works that are usually large-scale (220 x 130 cm), intentionally obscured, images of human figures. Al Karim is known throughout the Middle East for his thematic concerns, such as politics, love and oppression; and to interpret his work more clearly one also needs to understand his life. Al Karim lived through much persecution and turmoil, living alone in the Iraqi desert for three years to avoid military service under Saddam Hussein's regime.
In this exhibition Halim Al Karim will be exhibiting sculptural and photographic works together under the same concept. While Al Karim has certainly dealt with love as a theme before, this particular body of work focuses on love that engulfs, that transforms two beings into one, and the effect on people that find it in their lives and those who do not.
Poetics and Meanings
Mohammed Kazem & Fred Eerdekens @ Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde
April 2, 2013
Gallery Isabelle van Den Eynde presents an exhibition featuring Mohammed Kazem and Fred Eerdekens. In the works on view each artist holds the material and the ephemeral in a tight dialectic to elicit alternative modes of seeing.
Mohammed Kazem creates tangible interpretations of immaterial forces and movements by tracking bodies and objects across the physical plane. The works range in media from colorful medical scrubs pulled tautly over square wooden canvases to a massive assemblage of industrial scales, and even a series of scratch paintings probe the borders between stillness and fixity, motion and potentiality.
Taken as a whole, these works are not simply about representation and signification; rather they are kinetic and charged with expression and experience that supersedes any fixed meaning.
Youssef Nabil @ The Third Line
Artist's Fourth Solo Show in Dubai
April 1, 2013
The Third Line is pleased to present internationally acclaimed artist Youssef Nabil’s fourth solo show in Dubai, which premieres the New York based Egyptian artist’s latest body of work. Working with his characteristic technique of hand painted silver gelatin photographs, Nabil introduces us to three new series that reflect upon the clash of archetypes that define the state of his present day home country.
This new body of work explores notions of transition and change as Nabil reflects upon an Egypt that is rapidly transforming and acquiring new ideals that he is unfamiliar with. An alien disconnect that has much more to do with the changing landscape than his physical absence, Nabil presents ephemeral imagery that he feels will soon be lost forever.
Group Exhibition of Lebanese Artists at the Empty Quarter
March 29, 2013
When civil war breaks out in Lebanon in 1975, George Awde, Rhea Karam, Sirine Fattouh, Rima Maroun and Randa Mirza, are not yet born. This will happen a few years later when the country is devastated, buried under the bombardments of different militias. As children, then teenagers, they will know their country only through this predicament. War is part of their daily landscape. They grow up with war and build their vision of the world from it, even in the exile phases that push their families abroad. War is a formative aspect of their individual paths. In 1991, the signing of amnesty marks a new episode where reconstruction and the affirmation of a return to normalcy are on the program. Awde, Karam, Fattouh, Maroun and Mirza grow up and find inspiration to create. Instability is the common experience they relive over and over.
Fatima El Hajj @ Albareh Art Gallery
March 28, 2013
Albareh Art Gallery presents “Readings”, an exhibition by Lebanese painter Fatima El Hajj, rendering homage to the “book” and the act of reading – the building block of human culture. In these paintings, the Wardanieh-born artist, classically trained in her native Lebanon, and then in Leningrad and Paris, explores the material intimacy of reading through a visual pilgrimage, unfolding as pastel-colored gardens of pages and words. Exhibited internationally since 1985, El Hajj deploys the use of modern elaborate techniques alongside motifs from the world of nature, intellectual landscapes and spiritual meditations.
“What I am looking for, instantaneousness … the same light spread throughout, the same light, the same light”, exclaims Monet. And it is precisely here that Fatima El Hajj, somewhere between abstract and figurative painting, leaves the European masters behind to enter her own world in Lebanon and the Levant
In Memory of Farideh Lashai
Posthumous Exhibitions by Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art & Leila Heller Gallery
March 27, 2013
Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art (ETNFA) and Leila Heller Gallery are pleased to present two posthumous New York exhibitions celebrating the life and career of internationally renowned, recently deceased, Iranian artist Farideh Lashai (1944 – 2013). On view, from April 3 to May 7, at ETNFA will be works such as El Amal, 2011‐2012, Le Dejeuner au Park‐e‐Mellat, 2007-2011, among others. An extended version of Lashai’s work Rabbit in Wonderland, 2010, will be on view at Leila Heller Gallery from April 4 to May 2. A joint-gallery catalogue, featuring an essay by Negar Azimi, Senior Editor of Bidoun magazine, will be published to accompany the exhibitions.
Additional works on view include Le Déjeuner au Park‐e-Mellat, 2007, inspired by Manet’s infamous work Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, and three unique canvases – Pomegranates, 2008; Untitled, 2008; and Zinc Borders, 2007.
Hossein Valamanesh: Selected Works (1992 - 2013)
Retrospective Exhibition @ Grey Noise Gallery
March 25, 2013
Grey Noise, Dubai is pleased to announce Hossein Valamanesh’s debut exhibition in the Middle East, on display till April 30, 2013.
The exhibition at Grey Noise will exhibit fourteen art works, spanning the years 1992 - 2013, to mark the artist's first survey show in the region.
The selection aims at presenting the diverse nature of his art practice, while resonating acute connections through conceptual, aesthetic and visual concerns. Furthermore, the composition of his work traces back to Valamanesh’s Iranian background while still heavily mirroring the culture and landscape of Australia, a place the artist has lived in for the past forty years. His work oscillates on the levels of lyrical imagery - deeply enigmatic and open to many interpretations.
Resilience and Light
Group Exhibition of Palestinian Artists in Canterbury
March 21, 2013
While diverse in approach and style, the artists included in this exhibition are working within a shared set of circumstances that define the reception of contemporary art, within and beyond the Arab world. Resilience and Light will explore a number of themes arising from their specific situations, including how art is interpreted within and out of its historical, social and political context.
Ben Thomas, curator of Studio 3 Gallery, said: ‘It is very exciting to be able to bring to Canterbury such compelling work by Palestinian artists.’ Aser El Saqqa added that 'Curating this exhibition has been an enormous challenge. This collection has come to Canterbury from Gaza, London, Venice, Paris and Dubai. Our aim is to show work of outstanding creativity, innovation and inspiration to new audiences.'