AKINCI proudly presents Memory Material, an exhibition premiering the work of Jananne Al-Ani and Stéphanie Saadé in The Netherlands, curated by Nat Muller.
In Memory Material two Middle Eastern artists explore issues of memory and how it both endures and disappears in materials and through technologies such as photography and film. Taking on and challenging the limitations that these media impose, they conjure up ways of reformulating conceptions of history, politics and form.
Irish-Iraqi artist Jananne Al-Ani shows part of The Aesthetics of Disappearance:
A Land Without People, an ongoing project that she started in 2007. In it she explores the disappearance of the body in the real and imagined landscapes of the contested and highly charged geographies of the Middle East. On show at AKINCI are Aerial I, Aerial II and Aerial V (2011), a series of photographs that consider the aesthetics, history and politics of aerial military surveillance technologies. From a plane, Al-Ani took sepia-toned images that almost appear abstract. It is unclear whether we are looking at ancient ruins or contemporary traces, man-made or natural. Human presence seems to be factored out altogether. This distance contrasts starkly with the video Excavators (2010), showing a close-up of a group of industriously working ants that challenges notions of scale.
Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the Beirut Art Center (2013): Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC (2012 and 1999); Darat al Funun, Amman (2010); Art Now -Tate Britain, London (2005) and the Imperial War Museum, London (1999). She has participated in the13th Istanbul Biennial (2013); Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013); the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) and the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). Recent group exhibitions include She Who Tells Story, Museum of Fine Art, Boston (2013); Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester (2013); Arab Express, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Before the Deluge, CaixaForum, Barcelona (2012); Topographies de la Guerre, Le Bal, Paris (2011); Closer, Beirut Art Center (2009); The Screen-Eye or the New Image: 100 Videos to Rethink the World, Casino Luxembourg (2007) and Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006). She has also co-curated exhibitions including Veil (2003/4) and Fair Play (2001/2). Recipient of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (2011); the East International Award (2001) and the John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award (1996), her work can be found in many permanent collections among them the Tate Gallery and Arts Council England, London; Centre Pompidou and Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la Création, Paris; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; and Darat al Funun, Amman.
Lebanese artist Stéphanie Saadé’s work explores how memory is present in actions, objects and material. In Nostalgic Geography (2013) the artist transposes the route of a walk in Paris, where she used to live, onto a city map of Beirut. The displacement of the route reflects her own displacement as a Beiruti exile in Paris. In other works such as Strange Parts (2013) and Scarred Object (2013) parts of disparate objects are welded together, or objects are taken apart and fixed again. The scars, however, are always visible, and the meaning and essence of the objects is forever changed. AKINCI is premiering Logic Remains (2013) where the artist recuperates forgotten and discarded everyday materials such as pieces of string, cables, knots, and adhesive tape. Their origin and purpose are lost, but not the process and logic of how they were made. Saadé copies the shapes and transforms these leftovers into delicate examples of artistry.
Her work has been exhibited at the Beirut Art Center, Exposure 2011 / The Running Horse Gallery, Beirut (2012 and 2013) / Minus 5, Beirut (2013) / The Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut (2013)/ Workshop Gallery, Beirut (2013)/ Grey Noise gallery Dubai (2013)/ Young Artist of the Year exhibition, A.M. Qattan Foundation, Palestine (2012)/ Q.I. Qalandyia International Biennial, Palestine (2012)/ PROGR, Bern (2013)/ TRANSFORM, Bern, (2013). Her works and writings were featured in PEEPING TOM’S Digest #3 Beirut, and will be included in several new publications beginning 2014. Stéphanie Saadé will take part in two forthcoming exhibitions, at Vitrine gallery, London, in January 2014, and at M HKA, Antwerp, in March 2014. From March 2014 she will be in residency at the Jan Van Eyck Academie.