Where are they Now? Recent Artist News - 1 comment
Documenta 13, which opened on June 9th in Kassel, Germany and runs until the 16th of September, features the work of a number of artists who have upcoming projects with the Sharjah Art Foundation, or have collaborated with SAF in the past.
On view in Kassel are two artist projects commissioned by SAF: Bani Abidi’s “Death at a 30 Degree Angle” and CAMP’s “The Boat Modes.” Both artists were the recipients of SAF’s Production Programme grant in 2011, which is awarded annually to encourage ambitious projects and to provide artists with a platform for experimentation.
Bani Abidi is a Pakistani artist based in New Delhi who uses the mediums of video and photography to construct humorous vignettes that comment on politics and culture. Her video installation “Death at a 30 Degree Angle” constructs a fictional narrative about a small-time politician who commissions a monumental sculpture of himself to be displayed publicly. Power, self-aggrandizement, sycophancy and paranoia are some of the central themes explored in this complex portrait. “Death at 30 Degree Angle” will be included in an exhibition curated by SAF President Hoor Al Qasimi, on view in Sharjah beginning November 3.
CAMP is an artist studio founded in 2007 in Bombay, India. It emerged from a will to work collectively in areas around technology, art, archives, the public sphere, and contemporary life. Shaina Anand (Bombay, India) and Ashok Sukumaran (Sapporo, Japan) are among its members. CAMP’s installation, “The Boat Modes” (2009-2012) includes a film that takes viewers on a journey from the Gulf of Kutch in India to the U.A.E. to the ports of Somalia and back. The Kassel presentation of this work was co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Documenta.
Egyptian artist Wael Shawky’s 58-minute video installation, “Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo” (2012) can also be seen at Documenta. The installation uses marionettes to interpret and narrate the historic chronicles of the Crusades. For Sharjah Biennial 11, Shawky will present a new commission developed as part of his Sharjah Biennial 10 Witness Programme residency.
Also on view in Kassel is Lara Favaretto’s “Momentary Monument IV.” As part of this large-scale installation, “metallic material recuperated from landfill and recycling centers is violently unloaded onto a disused square. Favaretto then retrieves several objects from the pile, choosing them for their intrinsic expressive force, and placed in the empty spaces they leave behind elements made out of rough cement, whose color, density, and shape are largely dictated by this provisional function of filling.”  Favaretto’s current exhibition “Just Knocked Out” at MoMA PS1 in New York was co-organised by SAF. The first survey of Favaretto, it comprises a dozen works from the past fifteen years as well as new pieces created specifically for the exhibition. Curated by MoMA PS1 Curator Peter Eleey, it is on view in New York until September 10 and can be seen in Sharjah beginning December 15.
Tarek Atoui, who has collaborated with the Sharjah Art Foundation since 2008 when he became artist-in-residence to work on Un-drum/Strategies of surviving noise (2009), is performing several times during Documenta 13, using sound-generating-equipment he created specifically for the exhibition. The performances will take place in various venues all over Kassel throughout the summer. In between performances, the instrument is displayed in his garden house in Karlsaue Park. In addition to these performances, Atoui has also established La Lutherie, a space where he teaches youths how to create sound-generating objects. Atoui is working with SAF and the Serpentine Gallery on a performance event scheduled for an evening in October, which will take place during the Frieze Art Fair in London.
Among the approximately 200 artists from over 50 countries who are part of Documenta 13 are a substantial number of artists who have worked with SAF, including Doug Ashford, Kader Attia, Judith Barry, Trisha Donnelly, Mariam Ghani, René Gabri, Simryn Gill, Khaled Hourani, Mark Lombardi, Rabih Mroué, Walid Raad, Jalal Toufic, Eyal Weizman, Akram Zaatari, Gustav Metzger, Ayreen Anastas, Lawrence Weiner, Emily Jacir, Amar Kanwar, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Anri Sala and Haris Epaminonda.
SAF also works with several of the artists contributing to La Triennale: Intense Proximeté/y (Paris, April 20th – August 26th). Minouk Lim, whose work was recently included in SAF’s group exhibition, “What should I do to live in your life?”, is participating in the Triennale with her installation “Liquid Theater.” It combines foam, hair, glue, wood, bandages, metal and video to place the two ‘halves’ of Korea in conversation with one another.
Ziad Antar’s series of photographs, “Portrait of a Landscape,” is on display at La Triennale. These photographs were first shown in Sharjah in the exhibition, “Portraits of a Territory,” hosted by the Sharjah Art Foundation and curated by Christine Macel, Chief Curator at Musée National D’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou Paris. The exhibition featured photographs of the UAE coastline that were taken between 2004 and 2011. While Antar began by randomly photographing the coast, he later worked to systematically document the coastline, Emirate by Emirate, completing the series as part of a Sharjah Art Foundation Residency in 2011. Viewed in succession, these photographs tell the story of an economic boom and its hazards through images of both monumental architectural structures and the abandoned worksites of unfinished construction projects, as well as through the daily lives and activities of the middle classes. Part of Antar’s “Expired” series is also on display at La Triennale. It was made using negatives found in a stock of old merchandise in the back-shop of a Cairo studio in 2005. Antar’s publication, Portrait of a Territory, was launched during the opening reception for his exhibition in Sharjah in March. Created as part of his Sharjah Art Foundation Artist Residency, the book includes 267 photographs, some from the exhibition in addition to others from the same series. Co-published by Actes Sud and Sharjah Art Foundation in French, English and Arabic, this 305 page book was designed by Marc Touitou with a text written by Christine Macel. The book is currently available for sale around the world.
La Triennale also presents a video installation by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige titled “A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination.” It examines the narrative structure and the human impact of the advance-fee fraud commonly known as the “Nigerian Letter” or the “419 fraud.” Hadjithomas and Joreige have collaborated with SAF on a number of projects and occasions. Commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 10, their sculpture Cedar IV - part of the project “Lebanese Rocket Society” - remains on view in the public square outside of the Sharjah Art Museum. It is a reconstitution of the Lebanese rocket of the same name, launched on November 21, 1963.
Former Sharjah Biennial artists Bouchra Khalili, Ali Essafi and Yto Barrada are also participating in La Triennale.