Sharjah Art Foundation Announces Sharjah Biennial 14 Curators
Sharjah Biennial 14 Curators. Left: Omar Kholeif. Photo: Eric T. White. Centre: Claire Tancons. Photo: Nicola Bustreo. Right: Zoe Butt. Photo: Nguyen Tri.
Sharjah Biennial 14
Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) announces Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif, and Claire Tancons will curate the next Sharjah Biennial (SB14), opening March 2019. SB14, Leaving the Echo Chamber, questions how art is produced when material culture is under threat of human destruction and climate degradation. On view across the city and Emirate of Sharjah, SB14 comprises three distinct exhibitions—including commissions, installations, performances, and films by contemporary artists—to explore demands made on contemporary life, which is vexed by rapid technological change and subject to an inescapable “echo chamber” of information, networks, and narratives.
“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. “Butt, Kholeif, and 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.”
Journey beyond the Arrow curated by Zoe Butt gives deeper context to the movement of humanity and the tools that have enabled (or hindered) its survival. From spiritual ritual to cultural custom; from technological process to political rule of law; all such practices possess particular tools (object and action), which aid or abet mobility. Artists reveal the generational impact of a range of physical and psychological “tools,” whose representation and meaning has shifted as a consequence of colonial exploit, religious conflict, or ideological extremism. Journey beyond the Arrow seeks to illuminate the necessary diversity of humanity and its exchange across the globe.
Zoe Butt is the Artistic Director of The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. As a curator, writer, and institution-builder she focuses on building critically thinking, historically conscious artistic communities.
Making New Time curated by Omar Kholeif examines time as a unit of experience that is at once singular and collective, representing chaos and possibility. Unfolding in three parts, this exhibition examines the physical body through the lens of artists who have represented tactile figures and forms in vibrant ways to question how we experience ourselves in relation to others. From here, the exhibition moves into worlds of augmented and virtual reality, featuring works that establish how time has enabled new forms of shared experience. The presentation concludes with an investigation into the trials, tribulations, and traces of history, suggesting how our existence can be changed, altered, and re-imagined.
Omar Kholeif is currently Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. He is a writer and curator whose work focuses on the intersection of art, global politics, and emerging technologies.
Look for Me All Around You curated by Claire Tancons questions if obscurity is the harbinger of futurity, darkness the site of seeing, and blackness the scene of unmasking. 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. Standing witness to the imperilment of the contemporary in the atomised space between “me” and “you,” Look for Me All Around You seeks to eschew the sole realm of the retinal embedded within hegemonic structures of looking, learning, and feeling. It strives instead, through mechanisms of repossession of perception, to reflect and deflect encroaching conditions of dispossession and diaspora, between piracy, clandestinity and fugitivity.
Claire Tancons is a curator and scholar invested in the discourse and practice of the postcolonial politics of production and exhibition. She has been a curator for the New Orleans, Gwangju, Cape Town and Göteborg biennials, as well as a guest curator at Tate Modern and Faena Art. Based in New Orleans and working in situ, she is currently a co-curator of the first edition of Tout-Monde, a festival of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy for the arts of the Caribbean in Miami.