Last Thursday, Ismail Rifai and Nawar Al Qassimi led a guided tour of SAF’s current exhibitions for students from Sharjah University’s Khorfakkan branch.
Conducted in Arabic, the 16 students began their visit at the Collections Building, which is currently hosting the exhibition Drift - an exploration of urban & suburban landscapes, and concluded their tour at Beit Al Serkal, which is hosting Sharjah Biennial 10: Film & Audio Commissions.
Ismail started the tour and explained the concept behind Drift. The students walked through each individual work to help them understand the particularities and concepts behind each artwork. The works that drew the most interest were Marwan Rechmaoui’s Beirut Caoutchouc and Hiroyuki Masuyama’s The Lost Works of Caspar David Friedrich.
Rechmaoui’s Beirut Caoutchouc is made up of thick black rubber, the artist crafted a sixty-piece jigsaw puzzle of the city of Beirut — each piece representing one of the city’s sixty different quarters. The puzzle sits solidly on the floor almost demanding engagement from visitors who cross the surface. Where as in The Lost Works of Caspar David Friedrich, Masuyama uses digital photography and digital image editing to replicate the paintings of the well-known German Romanticist Caspar David Friedrich, mimicking the painter’s methods of creating a finished painting from preparatory sketches. The artist works directly with multiple photographs — sometimes hundreds, even thousands — to form a composite final image. These images are presented as large-scale light boxes.
As the tour moved into Beit Al Serkal, the students were eager to watch Rania Stephan’s The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni since they were already familiar with some of Soad Hosni’s films. The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni won the Sharjah Biennial 10 Artist Prize. It is a 70-minute film where Stephan creates a moving portrait of the iconic actress, in which the rumours surrounding her life and death are translated through her image as a projection of the Arab imaginary and its evolution over thirty years.
After a two hour tour, the students appeared to have enjoyed the show commenting that even though they felt that they didn’t have an eye for art, they undoubtedly understood and appreciated the work once it was explained to them. The tour sparked a special interest in the students about the forthcoming Sharjah Biennial in March 2013.