Wed 01-03-2017 19:34 PM

Exhibition of Arab modern and contemporary art opens in Paris

PARIS, 1st March, 2017 (WAM) -- An exhibition of Arab modern and contemporary art with over 80 pieces from the Barjeel Art Foundation’s collection in Sharjah has been inaugurated at l’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.

The opening ceremony was attended by Madhed Hareb Al Khaiili, the UAE Ambassador to France, Jack Lang, President of l’Institut du Monde Arabe, and Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation.

Curated by Philippe van Cauteren, Artistic Director of S.M.A.K. Belgium, and Karim Sultan, curator at the Barjeel Art Foundation, the exhibition explores the act of exhibition-making and the role that a collection has in the construction of art history.

With an emphasis on Arab modern and contemporary art, the event attempts to define artworks as "masterpieces." The exhibition draws attention to this construct by displaying major works from the collection alongside pieces by lesser-known artists.

The exhibition aims to illustrate what goes on behind the scenes during the presentation and conservation of artworks in an exhibition.

Referencing Achraf Touloub’s "Le Visage du Monde / Surat al-ard" from the Barjeel Art Foundation, van Cauteren will examine the idea that discourse on art has been monopolised almost exclusively by a Western perspective -- one that he aims to avoid during the curation of this exhibition.

While the artworks in the exhibition have been carefully chosen, their selection is independent of their position in art, national or cultural history. As a result, the curatorial approach mimics the conditions followed within institutions like the Barjeel Art Foundation, where importance is placed upon presentation, conservation and personal reflection.

The exhibition will be split into two sections: one room which brings leading artists together in an archetypal museum scenography -- the ‘white cube’ format -- and a second space focussed on presenting the ‘back rooms’ of the museum. Visitors will be granted a rare intimate experience with pieces in this second room, which will be positioned as objects of study. The exhibition will also include a selection of documents, photographs, notes and letters from the Barjeel Art Foundation and its founder Al-Qassemi.

Major artists such as Adel Abdessemed, Hassan Sharif, Mohammed Cherkaoui, Marwan Kassab Bachi, Kader Attia, Rachid Koraichi, Chafic Abboud, Asim Abu Shakra, Shakir Hassan Al-Said, Achraf Touloub and Etel Adnan will be exhibited alongside their peers.