Systems and Patterns

28. 09. 2012 - 18. 11. 2012
440h/01.jpg
Moataz Nasr, The Maze (The people Want the Fall of the Regime), 2012, site specific installation in Tivoli Park. Photo: Jaka Babnik.

ARTISTS Nazgol Ansarinia, Taysir Batniji, Hala Elkoussy, Mounir Fatmi, Abdulnasser Gharem, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hefuna, Rachid Koraïchi, Moataz Nasr, Walid Siti, Hassan Sharif, Slavs and Tatars

CURATOR Nevenka Šivavec

The exhibition Systems and Patterns attempted to show, through a small sampling of works – the crucial dilemmas involved in the representation of the Middle East, both on the part of the creators of images and on the part of their users. The representation ranged from secularized cosmopolitan images of the Middle East to a renewed consideration of, and even an insistence on nurturing, local cultural traditions and religion. Preconceived and stereotypical ideas about Middle Eastern contemporary art do exist, although in a much more sophisticated way, even in the system of contemporary art. The exhibition intentionally avoided the topical art of the Arab Spring and focused on questions relating to artistic universality.
At the same time, the exhibition Systems and Patterns was a presentation of contemporary Middle Eastern art in its connection with the history of the Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana. As a museum that specializes in the art of printing and printmaking, the International Centre of Graphic Arts is also the producer of the biennial. Founded in 1955, at a time when the former Yugoslavia occupied a unique geopolitical position, the Ljubljana Biennial quickly established itself as an event that, very early on, transcended the Eurocentric perspective by showing art production from the so-called Third World, and especially from the non-aligned countries – including artists from the Middle East. From its beginning and almost to the end of the 1990s, the Biennial was committed to the universalist modernist paradigm. Even a cursory inspection of the artworks sent by Middle Eastern artists to the Ljubljana Biennial reveals the predominance of modernist forms and artistic subjectivism over Orientalist notions. With the changes in the social and political situation, the modernist paradigm has been replaced by globalism and transnationalism, while painting, sculpture, and printmaking have been overshadowed by contemporary discursive art practices although the question of artistic universalism remains pertinent even today. At the same time, the exhibition Systems and Patterns was a presentation of contemporary Middle Eastern art in its connection with the history of the Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana. As a museum that specializes in the art of printing and printmaking, the International Centre of Graphic Arts is also the producer of the biennial. Founded in 1955, at a time when the former Yugoslavia occupied a unique geopolitical position, the Ljubljana Biennial quickly established itself as an event that, very early on, transcended the Eurocentric perspective by showing art production from the so-called Third World, and especially from the non-aligned countries – including artists from the Middle East. From its beginning and almost to the end of the 1990s, the Biennial was committed to the universalist modernist paradigm. Even a cursory inspection of the artworks sent by Middle Eastern artists to the Ljubljana Biennial reveals the predominance of modernist forms and artistic subjectivism over Orientalist notions. With the changes in the social and political situation, the modernist paradigm has been replaced by globalism and transnationalism, while painting, sculpture, and printmaking have been overshadowed by contemporary discursive art practices although the question of artistic universalism remains pertinent even today.

 



ACCOMPANYING EVENT

Thursday, 25 October at 17:00
Screening of videos: House Arrests: Tales of the Hidden Inside, curated by Nat Muller, featuring works by Akram Zaatari, Vartan Avakian, Taysir Batniji and Larissa Sansour.

 

CATALOGUE

Editors Nevenka Šivavec, Peter Kisin
Ljubljana, 2012
230 pages, Slovene and English language
Price 20 EUR