The Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) has announced a major new exhibition focused on art in the age of the internet as part of its Spring 2020 programme. Titled Art in the Age of Anxiety, the exhibition, which will open on March 21, will explore how everyday technologies and online content have altered our collective consciousness. The programme will also include major surveys of regional artists and the foundation's annual March Meeting.
Art in the Age of Anxiety
Curated by the foundation's director of collections and senior curator Omar Kholeif, Art in the Age of Anxiety will tell the story of the culture that we live in and posits speculations for its future. Works from a global group of artists will be presented at the exhibition. The works stretch from algorithmic culture to virtual reality, including works by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Cory Arcangel, Wafaa Bilal, Douglas Coupland, Cao Fei, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jon Rafman and Guan Xiao as well as a major new commission by Simon Denny.
Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11
The Spring season will also include a major survey of Tarek Atoui's work, featuring live performances by the Lebanese composer and a series of guest creators. The survey will celebrate Atoui's decade-long collaboration with the foundation.
Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11 will offer audiences the opportunity to learn about instrument-making, compositional structure and musical collaboration.
According to SAF, the instruments Atoui has created are the product of extensive research into music history and tradition as well as collaborations with different experts. The instruments also build on the artist's collective project Within. This collective originating in Sharjah investigates how deafness can influence the way sound performance, space and instrumentation are understood. The three-month long exhibition will feature live performances by Atoui and a series of guest collaborators.
The exhibition will also host a residency which allows musicians to experiment and interact with audiences in order to produce new work. A temporary sound lab will also be set up in Sharjah's east coast city of Kalba to serve as a space for education and experimentation.
The full schedule of performances will be available in early 2020.
In a career spanning more than three decades, Ugandan-Asian photographer Zarina Bhimji has drawn inspiration from anthropology, sociology, painting, poetry and history for her works.
This major survey organised by SAF will present a number of the artist's seminal works in film, photography and installation. Although many of the artist's works draw from specific historical circumstances, such as the rise of anti-immigration sentiment in 1970s Britain and the expulsion of South Asians from post-liberation Uganda – Bhimji has stated that her intention is not to communicate the facts of such histories but rather to "feel the force with which it all happened".
Bhimji conceives of her films and photographs as compositions of light, shadow, colour, texture and sound rather than mere documentary record. The use of the camera as a subjective, painterly tool is central to this endeavour.
Some of her films to be screened at the Foundation include Out of Blue (2002), Yellow Patch (2011) and Jangbar (2015).
The annual three-day March Meeting brings together artists, curators and art practitioners from around the world for a programme of talks, panels, presentations and performances that explore vital issues in contemporary art. The 2020 edition of March Meeting will be organised around the title and theme of the forthcoming Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15), Thinking Historically in the Present, which was conceived by the late critic and curator Okwui Enwezor.
According to Enwezor, the 15th edition of the Sharjah Biennial will be "structured with a historical prelude in 2020 and contemporary presentations in 2021." Following his vision for the Biennial and coinciding with its 30th anniversary, SB15 will reflect on the Biennial as a means
for addressing the disruptive power of "artistic monolingualism" and exploring other approaches to thinking about the past in the present.
The programme will examine the history of the Biennial and past March Meetings by bringing together former curators, participants and interlocutors as well as art historians.
Further details about March Meeting 2020 programme will be announced in early 2020.