21, 39 Jeddah Arts postponed until further notice

The eighth exhibition by the Saudi Art Council was scheduled to open on Wednesday evening

Saudi Arabian artist Sultan bin Fahad's audio installation ‘Al Hida'a’ (2019) shown at the 2020 iteration of 21, 39 Jeddah Arts. Courtesy 21, 39 Jeddah Arts
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The opening of the eighth 21, 39 Jeddah Arts has been postponed until further notice, the Saudi Art Council announced on Wednesday.

"We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused and regret to inform you that our opening of 21, 39 Jeddah Arts has been postponed until further notice," the organisers shared in an Instagram Story.

The council told The National the event will open "at a later date due to changes in Covid-19 regulations", without providing a new opening date.

This year's exhibition, titled Secrets of Alidades, which alludes to pointers found on astrolabes, has been curated by French academic Fabien Danesi and was set to open in Jeddah on Wednesday evening.

According to the council, "The show will be extended through satellite exhibitions, talks, screenings, workshops and an eponymous website that offers educational games and a science fiction fable.

"There is a double image at play: if artworks can be understood as navigational instruments, then an exhibition can be seen as a constellation."

This shift of the symbolic, from the observer's tool (the alidade) to the object of observation (the stars), illustrates the consequences of our contemporary times — how objectivity and subjectivity are no longer a dialectic couple, but, rather, they affirm double meanings in an endless chain of significances.

In this regard, the "'exhibition as constellation’ approach may help us understand artistic creations as something completely different from the illustrations of the curatorial topics," Danesi said of the exhibition.

The name 21, 39 Jeddah Arts is derived from geographic co-ordinates of the city (21.5433°N, 39.1728°E ) and is a non-profit initiative organised by the Saudi Arts Council. 21, 39 provides opportunities for aspiring local artists to showcase their work, hosts workshops, gallery openings and series of talks to push the dialogue on art and culture.

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