Chefs-D’œuvre de L’art Moderne et Contemporain Arabe
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Read the Press Release (Arabic)
Curated by Philippe van Cauteren, Artistic Director of S.M.A,K. Belgium, and Karim Sultan, Curator at Barjeel Art Foundation, Chefs-D’oeuvre De L’art Moderne Et Contemporain Arabe explores the act of exhibition-making and the role that a collection has in the construction of art history, within an emphasis on Arab Modern and Contemporary art.
This exhibition highlights the role of the collection in defining artworks as ‘masterpieces’. The exhibition draws attention to this phenomenon, displaying major works from the collection alongside works by lesser well-known artists. The exhibition aims to illustrate the methods that occur behind the scenes during the presentation and the conservation of artworks in an exhibition.
Referencing Achraf Touloub’s work “Le Visage du Monde / Surat al-Ard” from the Barjeel Art Foundation Collection, van Cauteren will examine the idea that the discourse of art has been monopolised by an almost exclusively Western view – one that he aims to avoid during the curation of this exhibition. The artworks within the exhibition have been meticulously selected, but independently of their position in art, national or cultural history. As a result, the curatorial approach is a reconstruction of the conditions within institutions, such as the Barjeel Art Foundation, placing importance upon presentation, conservation and personal reflection.
The exhibition will be split into two sections: a room which brings together leading artists from the collection in an archetypal museum scenography (‘white cube’ format), and a second space focused on presenting the ‘back rooms’ of the museum. The works in this second room appear as objects of study, granting the visitor a rare intimate experience with these works.
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.