Ours is an age of constant speed; we barely have a moment to breathe. Time is the irreversible, indefinite and continued process of existing in the world. Yet technological, social and political change has altered the means by which we relate to images, objects and the concept of history itself.
Spatial and temporal orders have shifted with the advent of a reality that moves like mercury in and out of our hands, flowing into an abyss, a space of chaos—but also toward a new portal, a space of possibility. Reality and history have been augmented by the realm of the virtual. This process encourages us to look back with a critical eye at the history of material cultures as we think we know them.
With all this in mind, how do we slow down and “experience” the experience? How do we make “new time”? This exhibition is a provocation. It seeks to show how material culture can be reimagined through the lenses of artists whose political agency, activism and astute observations encourage us to extend the limits of our beliefs. It considers how economies have formed around technological culture, how narrative is created and deconstructed, and how these forces of change enable a reconstitution, or indeed a restitution, of a history lost or even unknown.
Drifting in and out of hegemonies and entrenched structures of power, here the sensorial and the bodily intertwine, becoming archaeological sediments in the landscape of Sharjah and imploring viewers to consider their complicity in a world that is forever slipping away.
Participating artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Cory Arcangel, Marwa Arsanios, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, Semiha Berksoy, Candice Breitz, Huguette Caland, Ian Cheng, Shezad Dawood, Stan Douglas, Lubaina Himid, Alfredo Jaar, Ann Veronica Janssens, Barbara Kasten, Astrid Klein, Marwan, Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh, Bruno Pacheco, Heather Phillipson, Jon Rafman, Michael Rakowitz, Pamela Rosenkranz, Hrair Sarkissian, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Munem Wasif, Akram Zaatari
Sharjah Biennial 14
7 March – 10 June 2019
Free and open to the public
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- Barbara Kasten, "Construct LB 2", 1982. Courtesy of the artist and Bortolami, New York. © Barbara Kasten