A Certain Aesthetic
Walid Siti's oeuvre draws heavily on his lived experience of exile and loss, yet at first glance that is not apparent from his abstract landscapes and geometric and architectural structures. His work is characterised by a subtle, almost understated, poetics and politics of form. It is the sub-text of repression...
'The life cycle of a contemporary art institution is an interesting thing. After five years, an institution might still seem like a giddy toddler. Ten years later, it might still show traces of an accumulated vision. But it is at 25 years that an institution really begins to represent a...
The Politics of the (im)Possible
Nat Muller reviews the 12th Sharjah Biennial (5 March<i>–</i>5 June 2015) and navigates between the 'whispers and gestures rather than [the] outspoken and bold statesments' of the event. Outlining some of the standout works selected, Muller presents a brief critique of the biennial, its curation, and its contexts.
Foundland’s Lauren Alexander and Ghalia Elsrakbi talk to Nat Muller about their new exhibition <em>Escape Routes and Waiting Rooms</em> that recently opened at ISCP (International Studio and Curatorial Programme) . The last few years Foundland’s practice has focused primarily on analysing stories, images and social media that come our of...
Technologies of History
In this interview with editorial correspondent Nat Muller, artist Jananne Al-Ani discusses how representations of the body figure throughout her work and how orientalist depictions of the Middle Eastern landscape, through literature, photography and film, continue to dominate our view of the region to this day. In her work Al-Ani...
For Eungie Joo, curator of the 2015 Sharjah Biennial who presided over the Sharjah Art Foundation's 2014 March Meeting, it was important to invite speakers who 'make art history in front of our eyes'. Ibraaz Editorial Correspondent Nat Muller reports from the sessions, noting its intentions, contentions and and projections...
Tea With Nefertiti
The German-Lebanese curatorial partners Till Fellrath and Sam Bardaouil, who are the founders of the curatorial platform Art Reoriented, are no strangers to Doha's Arab Museum of Modern Art, Mathaf. In 2010, they curated the institution's inaugural exhibition <em>Told | Untold | Retold </em>showing contemporary Arab artists whose work, in...
The Many Metamorphoses of Mounira al Solh
Mounira al Solh is a bit of a maverick in the Lebanese art scene. Her work is humourous, tongue-in-cheek and prone to the unexpected. Whether she deals with complex gender or political issues, or questions the pressures on Arab artists who are wedged between local and international expectations – a...
Noise in the Courtyard
Writing a review of the 11th Sharjah Biennial<em> Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography </em>(13th March to 13th May 2013) is a schizophrenic affair. On the one hand, such a large curatorial undertaking deserves to be critiqued purely on its own merit. On the other hand, the black page of...
Take Me to This Place, I want to do the memories
<em>Atfal Ahdath</em> is the moniker Lebanese artists Raed Yassin, Vartan Avakian and Hatem Imam, all successful as solo practitioners, choose to go by when collaborating. The name translates into 'Children of the Events', referring to Lebanon's 15 years of civil strife (1975-1990), a time when these three artists were growing...
With the benefit of hindsight, what role does new media play in artistic practices, activism, and as an agent for social change in the Middle East and North Africa today?
When we talk about media, whether we consider them old or new, and critical practices, whether we label them as artistic, activist or hybrid, we would do well to look at issues of embodiment, and where virtual presence and physical presence intersects. The Arab uprisings have shown that no matter...
What Was Lost
In the early 1960s, a group of students led by the professor of mathematics and physics at the Haigazian Armenian University in Lebanon, one Manoug Manougian, designed and launched rockets for the purpose of exploring and studying space. The project was called the Lebanese Rocket Society and was halted in...
Lebanese artist and musician Raed Yassin’s work mines recent history and pop culture for hypnotic and frequently amusing works that range from video to performance to sound art. Sampling sounds and images from obscure Arabic records, Egyptian films, and cable television, Yassin creates visual and aural collages underpinned by forms...