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March Meeting 2021: Unravelling the Present

SAF March Meeting und Frühjahrsausstellungen 2021

March Meeting 2021: Unravelling the Present

12 - 21 March 2021

Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting (MM) will return in an extended dual on-site and online format from 12 to 21 March 2021. Usually organised as a three-day convening of artists, curators and art practitioners who meet to explore critical issues in contemporary art, this edition of March Meeting will take place over 10 days and serve as the launch of Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (SB15), due to open in 2022.

Originally scheduled for March 2020, MM 2021 examines the past 30 years of the Sharjah Biennial as a model for dealing with the disruptive power of artistic monolingualism and a horizon for developing a theoretical space for thinking historically in the present. Titled Unravelling the present, this edition of March Meeting brings together former Sharjah Biennial curators, artistic directors and artists as well as art historians and critics to examine the role and impact of the Sharjah Biennial in the region and the global contemporary art scene at large. MM 2021 will also explore the evolution of the Sharjah Biennial, focusing on its disruption of traditional modes of curating and displaying art by activating non-institutional spaces, moving to non-geographic models of representation and developing a year-round programme enabled by the establishment of Sharjah Art Foundation.

MM 2021 is an integral part of the framework for Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present that was laid out by the late Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019). Organised as a posthumous homage to Enwezor’s remarkable and transformative contributions to contemporary art, Sharjah Biennial 15 will serve as a platform for the exploration of his curatorial and intellectual legacy. SB15 will reflect on the critical work of alternative platforms and artistic experimentation enabled by the emergence of the contemporary art biennial, uniquely embracing Enwezor’s insistence on the art exhibition as an important vehicle for engaging with history, politics and society and the ways in which these domains shape our global present. SB15 will be curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, in collaboration with the SB15 Working Group and Advisory Committee. More information about SB15 is available here.

Registration for the online and in-person portions of the programme is now live at this link. Additional information on MM 2021 speakers and participants will be announced in the coming weeks.

More information

Spring 2021 exhibitions

Rayyane Tabet: Exquisite Corpse
12 March - 15 June 2021
Curator: Ryan Inouye, Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation
Venue: Galleries 1, 2 & 3, Al Mureijah Square

Newly commissioned works and reconceived presentations from FRAGMENTS (2016–ongoing), the artist’s most ambitious project to date. Drawing on personal insight and historical records to stage encounters between audiences and matters of geopolitical consequence, the body of work explores an archaeological excavation led by German diplomat Baron Max von Oppenheim in Tell Halaf, northeast Syria, at the turn of the 20th century. The artist’s great-grandfather, Faek Borkhoche, worked as von Oppenheim’s secretary for six months in 1929, a few years after Western powers had carved up the region. Following this familial connection, Tabet has developed works that engage with family heirlooms and archaeological artefacts through accidents of history—across time, generations and continents. The exhibition conveys the story of the Tell Halaf excavation and foregrounds the wide-ranging fallout of an era that Tabet’s project takes up through current discussions of cultural appropriation, museological practice and freedom of movement.

More information

Unsettled Objects
12 March - 15 June 2021
Curator: Omar Kholeif, SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator
Venue: The Flying Saucer

The first presentation of the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection to be held in the newly renovated Flying Saucer. The exhibition draws its title from a major new acquisition by the late conceptual artist Lothar Baumgarten, Unsettled Objects (1968–1969), which is a slide carousel projection that unfolds the hidden characteristics behind the foundational artefacts of Western museum collections. The work is presented alongside other newly acquired and rarely seen works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, revealing artists and artworks that encourage the viewer to reconsider how the creative imagination is constructed. Designed to create conversations through thought-provoking individual experiences, the exhibition is composed of a constellation of individual presentations and salon hangs that take on the circular shape of The Flying Saucer, one of Sharjah’s architectural landmarks.

More information

Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist
5 March - 26 September 2021
Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole (MAMC+), France

Originally organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and curated by Hoor Al Qasimi as the largest and most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, the fourth iteration of the international tour of Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist, co-curated by Al Qasimi and Aurélie Voltz, General Director of MAMC+, will be on view at MAMC+ from March 5 to September 26, 2021. Tracing nearly five decades of the artist’s multimedia practice, including painting, sculpture, assemblage, drawing, installation and photography as well as later works on view for the first time, this landmark retrospective is the culmination of the artist’s lifelong role as an advocate and pioneer for the development of contemporary art and thought in the United Arab Emirates, particularly in Sharjah, where he first began staging interventions and exhibitions of contemporary art and exhibited at the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993.

The European tour of the exhibition has been organised by Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Malmö Konsthall; and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Saint-Etienne.

Presentation in Sharjah ►
The seven chapters of the exhibition, each presented in its own space and with titles inspired by Sharif’s words. The extensive photo tour by UiU includes ca. 160 images and information about the works.

Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11
On view through 10 April 2021
Curator: Hoor Al Qasimi
Bait Al Serkal

The major solo exhibition marks over a decade of work created by sound artist Tarek Atoui in collaboration with the Foundation and the surrounding Sharjah community. The exhibition centres around experimental and innovative musical forms and offers audiences opportunities to learn about and explore instrument-making, compositional structure and musical collaboration.

Information and photos in UiU ►

Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket
On view through 10 April 2021
Curator: Hoor Al Qasimi
Galleries 4, 5 and 6, Al Mureijah Art Spaces

The most in-depth survey of the artist’s work to date, featuring a number of her seminal works across film, photography and installation. The exhibition examines the artist’s early exploration into forms of knowledge overlooked by established systems of order as well as her later exploration of architecture and landscape as arbiters of complex experience and emotion.

Information and photos in UiU ►

(From press information, December 2020)

Media contact:
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa
T +971 6 544 4113

Sharjah Biennale 15, 2021
Thinking Historically in the Present

März - Juni 2021
Sharjah, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate

Kuratorin: Hoor Al Qasimi,
basierend auf dem Konzept von Okwui Enwezor, der als Kurator der SB15 eingeladen war, jedoch 2019 verstarb

SB15 Arbeitsgruppe, langjährige Mitarbeiter von Enwezor:
Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Ute Meta Bauer, Salah M. Hassan, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Octavio Zaya

SB15 beratender Beirat:
Sir David Adjaye OBE, Christine Tohmé

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