Sharjah Biennial 14 (SB14), entitled Leaving the Echo Chamber, explores the possibilities and purpose of producing art when news is fed by a monopoly of sources, history is increasingly fictionalised, when ideas of ‘society’ are invariably displaced, when borders and beliefs are dictated by cultural, social and political systems.
Curators Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons, who have collaboratively conceived the SB14 theme, present three distinct exhibitions bringing together a range of experiences and works—including major commissions, large-scale public installations, performances and film—to create a series of provocations about how one might re-negotiate the shape, form, and function of the “echo chamber” of contemporary life, towards a multiplying of the echoes within such vibration, representative of the vast forms of human production—its rituals, beliefs and customs. Butt, Kholeif, and Tancons also spearhead three distinct programmatic approaches for SAF’s March Meeting, an annual convening of local and international artists, curators, scholars and other arts practitioners who explore topical issues in contemporary art through a programme of talks and performances. March Meeting 2019 coincides with the opening of SB14.
On view in buildings and courtyards across the city’s arts and heritage areas, as well as in SAF’s studios in Al Hamriyah, in the East Coast city of Kalba and other spaces in Sharjah, Leaving the Echo Chamber explores subjects ranging from migration and diaspora, to concepts of time and interpreted histories—giving artists the agency to explore stories that echo in a different way, revealing differing means of connecting, surviving and sustaining a collective humanity.
The projects and participating artists are:
Journey Beyond the Arrow, curated by Zoe Butt
Journey Beyond the Arrow aspires to provide deeper context to the movement of humanity and the tools that have enabled or hindered its survival. From spiritual ritual to cultural custom, technological process to political rule of law, all such practices possess particular objects and actions that aid or abet mobility. In this exhibition, artists reveal the generational impact of a range of physical and psychological “tools,” and how the representations and meanings of these tools have shifted as a consequence of colonial exploit, social and religious conflict or ideological extremism. Journey Beyond the Arrow seeks to illuminate the necessity of exchange and diversity across the globe and throughout human history.
The exhibition features: 31st Century Museum of Contemporary Spirit, Khadim Ali, Antariksa, Shiraz Bayjoo, Adriana Bustos, Rohini Devasher, Léuli Eshrāghi, GUDSKUL, Kawayan de Guia, Anawana Haloba, Ho Tzu Nyen, Roslisham Ismail (Ise), Meiro Koizumi, Jompet Kuswidananto, Nalini Malani, Lee Mingwei, Neo Muyanga, Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, Phan Thảo Nguyên, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Qiu Zhijie, Lisa Reihana, Mark Salvatus, Ampannee Satoh, Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan, Kidlat Tahimik, Lantian Xie and Xu Zhen.
Making New Time, curated by Omar Kholeif
Responding to the overall theme of Leaving the Echo Chamber, Making New Time is a provocation on how material culture can be reimagined through the lens of a group of artists whose political agency, activism, and astute observations encourage us to extend beyond the limits of belief. The exhibition considers how economies have formed around technological culture, how narrative is created and deconstructed, and how these forces enable a reconstitution, or indeed a restitution of a history lost, or even unknown. Drifting in and out of hegemonies and entrenched structures of power; here, the sensorial and the bodily intertwine, becoming archaeological sediments in the landscape of Sharjah, imploring the viewer to consider their complicity in a world that is forever fleeting from our hands.
The exhibition features: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Cory Arcangel, Marwa Arsanios, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, Candice Breitz, Huguette Caland, Ian Cheng, Shezad Dawood, Stan Douglas, Lubaina Himid, Alfredo Jaar, Ann Veronica Janssens, Barbara Kasten, Astrid Klein, Marwan, Otobong Nkanga & Emeka Ogboh, Bruno Pacheco, Heather Phillipson, Jon Rafman, Michael Rakowitz, Pamela Rosenkranz, Hrair Sarkissian, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Munem Wasif and Akram Zaatari.
Look for Me All Around You, curated by Claire Tancons
Look for Me All Around You is an open platform of migrant images and fugitive forms concerned with the alternatively dispossessive and repossessive disposition of diasporisation as an aporetic phenomenon of the contemporary. Conceived as a contrapuntal proposal to the realm of the retinal embedded within hegemonic structures of looking, learning, and feeling, Look for Me All Around You is an address to the redistribution of the sensible and a call for the repossession of perception. 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. Composed of multiple scores drawn from the many scales of Sharjah as city, emirate, and peninsular territory, Look for Me All Around You straddles the lines of the cosmo-ecological, the techno-sensorial and the museo-imaginal in response to human and material displacement and digitalization to stand witness to the imperilment of the contemporary in the atomised space between “me” and “you.”
This platform features: Allora & Calzadilla, Caline Aoun, Leo Asemota, Aline Baiana, Hannah Black & Ebba Fransén Waldhör, Mohamed Bourouissa, Jace Clayton, Christopher Cozier, Annie Dorsen, Torkwase Dyson, Alaa Edris, Alia Farid, Peter Friedl, Meschac Gaba, Nikolaus Gansterer, Eisa Jocson, Isabel Lewis & Matthew Lutz-Kinoy & HACKLANDER / HATAM, Laura Lima, Ulrik López, Carlos Martiel, Suchitra Mattai, Mohau Modisakeng, New Orleans Airlift, Tracey Rose, Wael Shawky, Caecilia Tripp and Wu Tsang.
Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber
7 March 10 June 2019
For more information, visit Sharjah Biennial website.