Ways of Seeing brings together 26 internationally-acclaimed artists and art collectives from the region and the world, working in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, sound, film, and installation. This exhibition is curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, founders of the multi-disciplinary curatorial platform Art Reoriented, and co-chairmen of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation.
The exhibition is based on John Berger’s seminal 1972 text on visual culture, Ways of Seeing, in which he shifted the emphasis of art criticism away from the professional art-expert and relocated it within the grasp of the layperson. In taking its cue from Berger’s groundbreaking argument, this exhibition invites the viewer to actively engage with the artwork, and to explore the ways by which artists assign forms and concepts that seem familiar with renewed appearances and meanings.
Ways of Seeing first opened at ARTER – Space for Art in in Istanbul last summer. The curators then reconfigured the exhibition for its second venue, the Boghossian Foundation – Villa Empain in Brussels last winter, bringing in a number of new artists and artworks. The third iteration of the exhibition premieres in Abu Dhabi, and includes new works by Andreas Gursky, Mona Hatoum, Lateefa bint Maktoum, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Hassan Sharif, Cindy Sherman, and Thomans Struth, among others.
Several artists in the exhibition, such as James Turrell, Hans-Peter Feldmann, and Fred Sandback, blur the boundaries between the artwork and the space in which it is displayed. Others, such as James Webb, Vik Muniz, and Gustav Metzger, offer the viewer new ways of accessing the artwork. A few, like Shana Moulton, James Casebere, and Andreas Gursky, push the technical and formal possibilities of their genre. Works by Salvador Dali, Mona Hatoum, Alicja Kwade, or Hassan Sharif change our perception of familiar objects by altering their function. Finally, images of people engaged in the act of looking, in works by Thomas Struth and Lateefa bint Maktoum, make us ponder the way in which narratives are constructed through what we see.
In Ways of Seeing, “Artists use form and technique to express something about themselves and the world,” said curator Sam Bardaouil. “Each of the artworks on display beckons us to take a second look, upon which the contours of a new reality begin to emerge.” And curator Till Fellrath notes, “We encourage viewers to be “active rather than passive in the way they look at the works in this exhibition, “There is no one ‘correct’ way to look at art. We encourage viewers to be active rather than passive in the way they look at the works in this exhibition. There is no one ‘correct’ way to look at art, and our wish is that our audiences should both be aware of and embrace their individual reactions and points of view, as these are borne of unique personal experiences.”
Artists featured in Ways of Seeing include: Ghada Amer, Frédéric Borgella, James Casebere, David Claerbout, Salvador Dali, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Andreas Gursky, Mona Hatoum, Paul and Marlene Kos, Alicja Kwade, Lateefa bint Maktoum, Gustav Metzger, Shana Moulton, Vik Muniz, Grayson Perry, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Fred Sandback, Markus Schinwald, Hassan Sharif, Cindy Sherman, Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger, John Speed, Thomas Struth, Kim Tschang-Yeul, James Turrell, and James Webb.
Ways of Seeing will be accompanied by a full program of publics events, including talks, workshops, and family-friendly activities.
About the Curators
Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath are independent curators and academics, and Founders of the interdisciplinary curatorial platform Art Reoriented in New York and Munich. They are also Chairmen of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation in Hamburg, and Curators at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. Their work is equally rooted in the field of modernist studies, as well as global contemporary artistic practices, and follows a rigorous inter-temporal, trans-cultural, and cross-disciplinary approach. Over the past decade they have curated critically acclaimed exhibitions at institutions worldwide such as Centre Pompidou in Paris, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Reina Sofia in Madrid, Arter – Space for Art in Istanbul, Kunstsammlung K20 in Dusseldorf, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Gwangju and Busan Museums of Art in South Korea, Tate Liverpool, and the Lebanese Pavilion for the 55th Venice Biennale. They have held teaching positions at various universities, and are award-winning authors and editors of numerous publications with contributions to a broad range of academic journals, books, newspapers and art magazines. Learn more about the curators and their work at: www.artreoriented.com
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