Modern art from Middle East, North Africa at Milan's GAM

16 works by 13 artists on display

10 April, 12:27

    MILAN - An exhibition at Milan's Gallery of Modern Art (GAM) titled "But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa", opens on April 11, coinciding with the start of Miart 2018, a three-day contemporary art and design fair in the city.
    The show is the third and final exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, a collaboration between New York's Guggenheim and UBS in support of contemporary art and education.
    One of the show's most intense moments comes in a video called "In Transit" by Lida Abdul, in which a group of children near Kabul are filmed as they play with the remains of a fallen Soviet war plane, trying without success but with infinite optimism to repair it using cotton and ropes.
    The show was organized by Sara Raza, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa; in collaboration with GAM Chief Curator Paola Zatti and GAM Curator Omar Cucciniello, and debuted at New York's Guggenheim Museum in April 2016.
    It features 16 works by 13 artists reflecting on critical concerns in the Middle East and North Africa.
    Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong said the show "pushes us to face stimulating ideas and rigorous artistic strategies, all of which can make us reflect on a vital region in today's world".
    "Many of the exhibition artists question the ability of objective 'truths' to adequately capture the social realities of our world," said Raza.
    "Utilizing fictional narratives and fantastical imagery, their works contain hidden ideas that challenge stereotypical and overtly politicized perspectives of the region and its history -ideas we might call 'conceptual contraband'".
    In the 2010 work that gives the show its name, Rokni Haerizadeh uses images from mass media and turns their subjects into half-man, half-animal hybrid creatures, in a grotesque view on the decline of modern reality.
    In the installation by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige titled "Latent Images, Diary of a Photographer, 177 Days of Performance", 354 books on 177 metal shelves contain descriptions of hypothetical photos taken during the Lebanese civil war by a fictional photographer named Abdallah Farah, to show the subtle line between myth and reality.
    The plight of migrant children in Turkey is shown in the 1997 work "Create Your Own Story with the Given Material" by Turkish artist Gülsün Karamustafa, which features child-sized white cotton shirts that the artist sewed shut with black cord.

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