With Christine Tohmé, cuator and founding director of Ashkal Alwan, at the head of the biennial, which has seen a major conceptual restructuring, the pluralistic and idea-exchange-focused event returns to Tohmé’s home. The final segment, Act II, concludes in Beirut with two parts.
14-15 October saw the last off-site project at Ashkal Alwan focus on the theme of Culinary through a series of performative activities, talks, workshops, cooking sessions and food tastings. Artists including Maya Abu Al Hayat, Brigitte Caland and Tarek El Ariss explored the production and consumption of eating habits and how they condition psychological and cultural dispositions. This has been followed by Act II, featuring two exhibitions at Sursock Museum and Beirut Art Centre, curated by Reem Fadda and Hicham Khalidi, respectively.
Fruit of Sleep, curated by Fadda at the Sursock Museum (until 31 December), considers the aesthetic results and repercussions of the collective state of falling in and out of sleep. With a statement reading, “This exhibition picks up on the thread of dormancy, looking at sleep as an act of neither the singular or collective mind, but rather of a social body carefully plotting action in the face of failed revolutionary attempts,” artists tackle sleep as a means to address urgent social concerns. An Unpredictable Expression of Human Potential, by Khalidi at Beirut Art Centre, addresses – without proposing solutions – the current situation of disillusion, questioning whether younger generations possess the verve and motivation to realistically redirect social-political legacies of modernity. Artists participating in Act II include Hiwa K, Emily Jacir, Iman Issa, Ali Cherri, Rayyane Tabet and Forensic Architecture, among several others.
SB13 followed the theme Tamawuj, which embraced exhibitions, projects and programmes across five locations. Each was dedicated to individual themes such as Water, Crops, Earth and Culinary, marking the foundation of social interaction and exchange. The themes explored by over 50 artists were intentionally fluid and fed off each other and the biennial’s hub in Sharjah, embodying the threefold meaning of Tamawuj: the rising and falling of waves; flowing, swelling, surging or fluctuation; or the wavy, undulating appearance, outline or form.
For more information, visit Sharjahart.org.