Press Release

Sharjah Art Foundation Announces Artist List and Commissions for Sharjah Biennial 14 in March 2019

Event Date: 
7 March 2019
Sharjah, UAE
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Biennial Curators to Organise Foundation’s Annual March Meeting Presented During Sharjah Biennial 14

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

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