Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber will explore the possibilities for creating art when material culture is under constant threat of human destruction and climate degradation, offering artists from the UAE and around the world an internationally recognised platform for exhibition and experimentation.
The biennial will include three distinct exhibitions organised by each of the three curators, presenting works by contemporary artists to explore the ways in which contemporary life, enabled by rapid technological change, has created a seemingly inescapable “echo chamber” of information, complex personal networks and shifting narratives that are physical, spiritual and virtual. Presenting new commissions, large-scale installations and films, the biennial will be on view in SAF buildings and courtyards, as well as other locations in Sharjah.
Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck is part of the group exhibition Making New Time, curated by Omar Kholeif.
Ours is in 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 out of our hands and 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: a singular and collective experience. We begin by exploring how our bodies and lived experiences have been devised historically, through the lens of a group of artists who have represented figures and forms in vibrant ways, questioning how we experience ourselves in relation to the environment around us. We move next into a universe of poetry and play, where we witness the expanded possibilities of how the digital world has enabled new forms of shared experience. We close with a chapter that reflects on the trials and tribulations of our history and the traces that it leaves behind. “Making New Time” proposes a break in established forms of thought, opening possibilities for ways our existence can be changed, altered, re-imagined.
With the exhibition format as his medium, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck’s hybrid practice incorporates the typical activities of a researcher, archivist, historian and curator. In an attempt to reveal the political strategies and motives at work in the world, his work analyses the dynamics of power and propaganda in modern history and aesthetics.