Saudi Aramco World: March/April 2014 - page 48

Saudi Aramco World
Parastou Forouhar:
Kiss Me is a series
of textile banners that resemble the tra-
ditional religious ones that are draped
in public spaces in Iran to commemo-
rate the death of Shi’ite imams and mar-
tyrs. These colorful banners usually have
a central medallion with messages about
mystical devotion, spiritual love and self-
sacrifice, but Forouhar has embroidered
the medallion with lyrics from a famous
1950’s pop song, Mara Beboos (“Kiss
Me”), by the “Iranian Elvis,” Viguen
Derderian, and embellished the banners
with feathers, furs, sequins and appli-
quéd motifs. Though the exhibition can be
interpreted as the artist’s gesture of rec-
onciliation with the past and her parents’
murder, it is also slyly subversive, for Mara
Beboos first became a hit in 1953, when
Iran’s brief democracy under prime min-
ister Mohammad Mossadegh ended in a
military coup. Rose Issa Projects,
through March 28.
Islamic Art & Contemporary Art-
ists explores how contemporary artists
respond to Islamic art and culture in their
own work, through a series of visual con-
versations that make connections across
cultures, geography and time. The installa-
tion juxtaposes historical objects and archi-
tecture with contemporary works that
draw on traditional Islamic styles, materi-
als and subject matter. The achievements
of traditional Islamic art are represented
by works in the museum’s collection dat-
ing from the ninth to the 21st century from
Islamic cultures across the globe, includ-
ing examples of calligraphy, ceramics,
paintings, carpets and architecture. Con-
temporary works include sculpture, video,
photography, paintings, ceramics and digital
collage by such internationally recognized
Dice Kayek won the £25,000 Jameel Prize 3 for “Istanbul Contrast,” a collection of garments that evoke
that city’s architectural and artistic heritage. The collection demonstrates how vibrant and creative Islamic
traditions continue to be today, the judges said; the translation of architectural ideas into fashion, furthermore,
demonstrates how traditions can still transfer from one art form to another.
Silver from the Malay World
explores the rich traditions
of silver in the Malay world. Intricate ornament drawn from
geometry and nature decorates dining vessels, clothing acces-
sories and ceremonial regalia. The exhibition features rarely
seen collections acquired by three prominent colonial adminis-
trators in British Malaya at the turn of the 20th century. Victoria
and Albert Museum,
through March 16.
Diana Al-Hadid:
Regarding Medardo Rosso links two sculptors
separated by more than a century, yet allied in their innovative
questioning of traditional practice and their exploration of two-
dimensional concepts in a three-dimensional sphere. Both Ros-
so’s and Al-Hadid’s work has the appearance of accident and
happenstance, but in fact is derived from repetition and a metic-
ulous awareness of material and perception. Rosso’s preoccu-
pation with light and the capturing of ephemeral phenomena
conceptually connects himmore directly to impressionist paint-
ers than to other sculptors of his time. Al-Hadid mines her subject
matter from Italian and Northern Renaissance painting, mythol-
ogy and architecture, and explores pictorial devices usually con-
fined to the two-dimensional plane. Like Rosso, who conceived
of his sculpture from a single frontal point of view, Al-Hadid is
also conscious of the viewer’s perspective, mindful of the whole
space yet directing the interaction. Marianne Boesky Gallery,
New York,
through March 19.
Hassan Hajjaj:
My Rock Stars Experimental, Volume
Nassiem Valamanesh:
Distant Words both explore the inter-
face of living in and between merging cultures, paradoxically high-
lighting alienation and yet embracing differences. My Rock Stars
Experimental is simultaneously a filmic haute-couture street
experiment and a revival of African photography from the 1960’s
and 1970’s, examining belonging in an increasingly globalized
society where boundaries of cultural identity—most notably Afri-
can, Arab and western—are constantly changing. Distant Words
continues Valamanesh’s engagement with themes of longing and
loneliness, not for a loved one or a place but for the ability to com-
municate and speak one’s mind. Valamanesh’s film combines
animation, text and photography in which the artist conveys his
isolation and frustration with his inability to speak the language
when traveling through Iran, his father’s country. Crawford Art
Cork, Ireland,
through March 22.
The Life and Afterlife of David Living-
Exploring Missionary Archives
brings together archives, photographs,
maps and artifacts relating to one of the
best-known British explorers and human-
itarian campaigners of the 19th century.
He is famed for his extensive travels
through Africa, his campaign against the
slave trade and the rich archival legacy
he left behind. A controversial figure, Liv-
ingstone was criticized for failing to make
converts on his travels, and ultimately died
evangelizing. Brunei Gallery,
through March 22.
Dismantling the Archive:
tation, Identity, Memory in an Ottoman
Family. Encompassing three gener-
ations, from the late Ottoman to the
Republic era, the family archive of Said
Bey instigates a historiographical study
of the daily and family life of the early
20th century. The exhibition attempts to
clarify how an unexceptional family, as it
passed through a complicated process
of transition, expressed and represented
itself through writing, photography
and material culture to form and pre-
serve memories. SALT Galata,
through March 23.
Count Your Blessings
exhibits more
than 70 sets of long and short strings
of prayer beads from various Asian cul-
tures, many with flourishes, counters,
attachments or tassels. Some are made
of precious or semiprecious stones,
others of seeds, carved wood, ivory or
bone. Collectively, they reveal sophisti-
cated and complex arrangements and
structures based on symbolic mean-
ings. Rubin Museum of Art,
New York,
through March 24.
Jameel Prize 3
exhibits works of the short list contenders for the third round of the
international award, which focuses on contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Of almost
270 nominations, this year’s short list includes artists from Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Morocco, India, Turkey,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and France, and the works on show range from Arabic typography and calligraphy
to fashion inspired by Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, and from social design and video installation to delicate and
precise miniature drawings. Victoria & Albert Museum,
through April 21.
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