‘JR – Adrian Piper – Ray Johnson,’ brought together three artists from different generations, with different roots and strategies, who share a common focus: an appeal to the viewer to become actively involved in the artwork, allowing it to fulfill its true purpose: only this “pact” between artist and audience brings the often ephemeral artwork to its intended completion.
For the 58th Venice Biennale, Nujoom Alghanem represented the UAE pavilion, presenting her installation ‘Passage,’ that touched on themes of language and identity. The installation was a culmination of 16 years of the poet and artist’s work, weaving together writing, art, and film-making.
For the 58th Biennale in Venice, artist Indrė Šerpytytė presented a new commissioned work, ‘Territorial Symphonies’. The work seeks to outline the power dynamic between the countries represented inside and outside of the Biennale, and the notion of inclusion and exclusion. In ‘Territorial Symphonies,’ a brass band plays the national anthem of over 60 countries, who are not represented with a permanent pavilion within the Giardini.
Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) Director and curator of the 2019 Field Meeting Leeza Ahmady organized a series of pop-up exhibitions, performances, lecture-performances and discussions by noted multidisciplinary artists, thinkers and creative individuals from all regions of Asia (with a focus on East Asia). The theme of the 2019 Field Meeting was ‘Thinking Collections’, and the curator offered her expanded take on what it means to be a collector. This year ACAW’s acclaimed annual art forum, Field Meeting, premiered outside of its usual host city, New York, presenting for the first time in Asia. The 2019 event, which ran from January 25–26th alongside the regional Quoz Arts Festival, was hosted at ACAW Consortium Partner, Alserkal Avenue in Dubai.
Korean artist Lee Bul’s artistic oeuvre is permeated with theoretical musings tied to a specific era of feminist thinking. While her large-scale solo exhibition from 2018, ‘Crash’ at Gropius Bau, spanned several decades of her work, beginning in the late 1980s until the present, there was an underlying attachment to a somewhat dated but nevertheless compelling strain of third wave feminism, espoused by thinkers such as Judith Butler and Donna Haraway, and afro-futurist author Octavia Butler.
‘Mom’s Balls’ is an intergenerational dialogue between artist Egill Sæbjörnsson, his mother Ágústa Oddsdóttir, and his grandmother, the late Elín Jónsdóttir. The exhibition was curated by Sæbjörnsson, together with writer, curator and the co-founder of Modern Painters magazine, Karen Wright.
Berliner Festspiele’s planetarium-inspired exhibition ‘The New Infinity’ in Mariannenplatz is host to a rotating cast of artists and performers. To kick things off, game designer and artist David OReilly offered his immersive ‘Eye of the Dream’ projection: a fusion of imagination, technology and science. In under two hours, viewers experienced different moments in the history of the universe, told through OReilly’s visual narrative and aesthetic experimentation.
In the exhibition ‘Welt ohne Außen. Immersive Spaces since the 1960s,’ which took place at Gropius Bau as part of Berliner Festspiele’s Immersion program, the concept of immersing oneself was explored through a series of time-based experiences that go beyond the object, extending into performances and various workshops. The exhibition, curated by Thomas Oberender and Tino Sehgal, featured artworks spanning from the late ’60s to the present by artists including Larry Bell, Doug Wheeler and Wolfgang Georgsdorf, among others, all of whom create new sensory perspectives.
For Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir the world is a community of people, including their surroundings and movements through time and space. Born in Reykjavik and based in Berlin, Gudnadóttir's work ‘Keep Frozen: The Documentary’ chronciles the lives of men who, in the span of 48 hours, unload 20,000 25-kilo crates of fish in Reykjavik’s harbor at minus 35 degrees Celsius. The documentary is a continuation of her film ‘Keep Frozen’ (2010–16), which explored ports along the Atlantic coast from her hometown to Essaouria, Morocco and Red Hook, Brooklyn. We visited the artist in her studio to speak about the creation of ‘Keep Frozen: The Documentary’ and her practice at large.
Presented as part of the Berliner Festspiele’s Immersion program, visitors were truly submerged within Parreno’s world: blinds automatically opened and closed; fish balloons floated up and down; Berlin radio stations were audible, then silenced; subtle vibrations created water lily patterns in a pool of water; a bioreactor fed a yeast colony, the microorganisms of which recorded the exhibition’s functioning. One could sense that everything is connected, but, as is often the case with Parreno’s work, it is unclear exactly who or what is in control. In the video, watch as the artist explains the exhibition’s inner functions.