When the French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster visited these basement stacks for the first time two years ago, the impression that came over her immediately, partly because the collection seemed at the same time so monumental and so cloistered, was “this Citizen Kane, Xanadu feeling,” she said in a recent telephone interview from Paris, where she lives and works part of the year. Sitting in the stacks amid the smell of dusty paper and buckram, she began to envision a kind of parallel library, as if the society’s could somehow dream itself a new existence.
And with help over the last few months from a team of painters and the society’s librarians, it now has, in a way. On Wednesday “chronotopes & dioramas,” an exhibition by Ms. Gonzalez-Foerster that is part of the Dia Art Foundation’s unlikely temporary partnership with the Hispanic Society, opens in a space next to the society that could almost be an annex to its library.The work presents a meticulously fashioned fantasy of a library in which shelves have become obsolete, and books, like examples of living creatures, are displayed in illusionistic dioramas that evoke those of the American Museum of Natural History. In this kind of library the Dewey decimal system has been replaced by a subjective method of categorization about as straightforward as Symbolist poetry. Franz Kafka, J. G. Ballard, Adolfo Bioy Casares and Gertrude Stein find themselves grouped together in the depths of the North Atlantic, as writers whom Ms. Gonzalez-Foerster sees as links between Europe and the Americas. Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño share company in the desert. And Paul Bowles, Elizabeth Bishop and the Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade are classified under the tropical, their books displayed in a rain-forest diorama in which the ruins of a Modernist house can be seen peeking out of the undergrowth.
September 29—October 24, 2009 عـربي
Darb al arba'in (the forty days road), 2005-2009
4 synchronized video channels installation, 33.3 min.
These recent videos and drawings reveal Shawky’s continuing investigation into how cultures contrast and combine. Through strategies such as storytelling, performance, and reenactment, often making use of child actors, Bedouin landscapes, or featuring the artist himself, Shawky distills complex sociocultural issues into arresting images and narratives. At once playful and multilayered, his works are symbolic explorations of contemporary Egypt and beyond.
Darb El Arbaeen (Forty Days’ Road), 2007
A four-channel video projection installed in the Factory, juxtaposes nomadic and agricultural ways of life. The road of the title, an ancient trade route through the desert that links Egypt and Sudan, is here traveled by a man and his water buffalo, who have left their village in search of a well. While the farmer and the Bedouin are traditionally seen in opposition, and agricultural society as more “advanced,” the video shows how they draw strength from each other. Darb El Arbaeen was previously exhibited at Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland, and at Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Poland.
Telematch Suburb, 2008
On view in the first-floor gallery, is the fourth video in the “Telematch” series (which also includes Telematch Upper Egypt, Telematch Sadat, and Telematch Market). Named after a 1970s German television in which inhabitants of different German towns competed against each other, the series examines issues of sex, class, politics, and generational divides in Egypt from the ’70s until today. Telematch Suburb plays on the performativity of culture, as residents in a rural area in Egypt's Nile Delta watch a heavy-metal concert in the middle of their village. The video was commissioned for the 2008 SITE Santa Fe Biennial in New Mexico, and Shawky originally planned to film a Native American dance, the kind often put on for tourists in the southwestern United States. When the biennial organizers objected, citing local sensitivities, the artist moved his site to Egypt, and reversed the roles: Now the “modern” entertains the “traditional”—and the latter is distinctly unimpressed.
Telematch suburb, 2008
video, 9.1 min.
Also on view in the gallery is a set of drawings that accompanied Telematch Suburb as part of a larger installation in the Santa Fe Biennial. The drawings were inspired by a visit to Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art, where Shawky was struck by how the region’s hybrid history is retold. In the museum displays—nowhere more apparent than in the large toy collection—Native American and Spanish identities are condensed into simple, readable forms.
14/09/2009 08:36- Uluslararası Sanat Eleştirmenleri Derneği AICA Türkiye, 11. İstanbul Bienali’nde yer alan işlerin arasından yapılan değerlendirme sonucu ‘En Eleştirel Yapıt’ ödülünü, Aydan Mürtezaoğlu ve Bülent Şangar ikilisinin ‘İşsiz İşçiler- Sana Yeni Bir İş Buldum’ çalışmasına verdi. AICA Türkiye jürisi Ahu Antmen, Ali Akay, Ayşegül Güçhan, Evrim Altuğ, Ayşegül Sönmez, Aslı Çetinkaya ve Cem Erciyes’ten oluşuyordu.