Cornerhouse Manchester Presents
A unique group show of new and recent contemporary art that explores and rethinks modern Arab identity.
Curated by Omar Kholeif
Subversion features work from eleven emerging and established artists who use autobiographical narratives amalgamated with fiction, popular culture and subversive parody to express the dichotomies they face as they perform multiple roles in a society which is frequently represented to the outside world in a contorted and mediated manner.
Rather than conforming, the artists approach the various social masks they are expected to wear with a sense of humour – making reference to the duplicitous performances of their everyday lives.
Spanning an array of techniques including installation, video, photography and sculpture, the work illustrates fragments of the distorted imagination that often preoccupies the Arab world.
Highlights include emerging Gaza artists and filmmakers Tarzan and Arab, presenting their award-winning Gazawood project (2010), including short film Colourful Journey and a series of striking cinema poster pastiches of imaginary movies from different genres. Originating from a region that has not had a functioning cinema since the 1980s and heavily relies on satellite TV and illegal DVD copies, the works strongly reflect the twins’ interest in and passion for film.
In A Space Exodus (2009), Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour adapts a segment of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, providing it with new, Middle Eastern context by positing the idea of the first Palestinian in space. Originally developed as part of the A Space Exodus installation, Subversion will also feature Sansour’s Palestinauts (2010) and three preliminary sketches for the Nation Estate project, a sci-fi photo series conceived in the wake of the Palestinian bid for nationhood at the UN.
On Friday 13 April there will be a Symposium to accompany the exhibtion entitled The New Arab: Art and Culture from the ‘Imagined’ Arab World. Chaired by Omar Kholeif this focused symposium grants a rare opportunity to hear from global experts on the arts and culture of the Arabic world who will explore recent developments in the region’s contemporary art scene. Using Subversion as a starting point, guests and speakers are invited to consider parallels between politics, history and representation in both the mass media and within a dissenting visual culture. Through lively debate, performance, and a series of provocations, we aim to consider art’s inherent power to mould, subvert and provoke a cultural dialogue.
14 April – 5 June 2012 | Tue-Sat:12:00-20:00; Sun:12:00-18:00
Galleries 1,2 & 3
70 Oxford Street