mercredi 30 mars 2011

ARTINFO: Bahrain and Lebanon Withdraw From the Venice Biennale Due to Mideast Turmoil, While Egypt's Participation Is Uncertain

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Part of Ahmed Askalany's installation at the Egyptian pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale

Courtesy Robert Goff Gallery
"Untitled," 2009, by Ahmed Alsoudani, who will participate in Iraq's first Biennale pavilion since 1976

It is no surprise that the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East should have an impact on the Venice Biennale, the international showcase of art, culture, and political soft power, and now the first embattled countries have begun to withdraw from participation. Bahrain, the tiny Gulf nation that was to make its first appearance at the Biennale this year, has backed out amid violent crackdowns at home, and Lebanon has likewise called off its sophomore pavilion. Meanwhile, Egypt's participation remains something of a question mark.

Bahrain's inability to send an artist to Venice is especially unfortunate since last year the country had its first appearance at the Venice Architecture Biennale and walked away with the Golden Lion for best pavilion. Curated by architects Noura Al-Sayeh and Fuad Al-Ansari, the national display focused on plans to develop areas along its shores where water has receded and included three traditional fisherman's huts. The jury was impressed with its "lucid and forceful self-analysis of the nation's relationship with its rapidly changing coastline." It is unclear whether Bahrain had already chosen a curator and artist for its appearance in the Venice Biennale this June.

As for Lebanon, it skipped the 2009 Biennale but had its own national pavilion for the first time in 2007, curated by Saleh Barakat and Sandra Daghe with the participation of artists Fouad Elkoury, Lamia Joreige, Walid Sadek, Mounira Al Solh, and Akram Zaatari. The exhibit had the official support of Lebanon, but was funded by private donations from the Lebanese community. The 2007 curators' statement said that Lebanon was joining the Biennale "at a time of grave political crisis in the country — when the concept of the nation has once again been called rather roughly, even violently into question."

This time around political instability has led the country to withdraw from the event entirely. The curator was to have been Georges Rabbath, who had titled the pavilion "Lebanon As a State of Mind." Ten artists were to have been featured: Annabel Daou, Etel Adnan, Marya Kazoun, Cornelia Krafft, Ricardo Mbarkho, Samer Mohdad, Jacko Restikian, Shawki Youssef, Camille Zakharia, and CPS (Chamber of Public Secrets). Daou, who grew up in Lebanon and moved to the United States at age 18, told ARTINFO that she received a letter from the culture minister about 10 days ago stating that Lebanon would not participate in the Biennale. Daou said that "I thought possibly there might be issues... obviously these things are difficult," but that she didn't expect the pavilion to be canceled after plans were so advanced. Lebanon's coalition government fell apart in January, and so far the country has been unable to form a new one.

As for the status of Egypt's participation, despite Biennale president Paolo Baratta's announcement at a Friday press conference that the country would not participate in the exhibition this year, it seems the country does in fact plan to proceed. According to Fatenn Mostafa of the Cairo Arts Initiative, newly-appointed culture minister Emad Abou Ghazi has confirmed Egypt's participation in the Biennale and has chosen Ahmed Bassiouny to represent the country. A Biennale representative, however, told ARTINFO that the organizers are awaiting "confirmation or any communication from Egypt."

Bassiouny died on the fourth day of Egypt's uprising, and Mostafa told ARTINFO that the pavilion will showcase the late artist's "work as well as his January 25 revolution videos." Already an icon of the revolution, Bassiouny was depicted by Cairo artist Ganzeer in his portrait series of martyred activists. In 2009, the Egyptian pavilion showed the work of artists Adel el Siwi and Ahmed Askalany, which the Independent's Michael Glover called "the tenderest and most haunting work in the Giardini."

In another positive piece of Biennale news from the region, Iraq, dealing with its own postwar turmoil, will nevertheless present its first pavilion in Venice since 1976, under the curatorship of Mary Angela Schroth and with support from Iraq's ministry of culture, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, and the Iraq embassy in Italy. Two generations of Iraqi artists will be presented, starting with Ali Assaf, Azad Nanakli, and Walid Siti, who were born in the 1950s. Abel Abidin, Halim Al Karim, and Ahmed Alsoudani represent a later generation that grew up during the Iran-Iraq War and the invasion of Kuwait.

Galerie Ecritures: expo Guerrero

Guerrero sera présent à la galerie ECRITURES Samedi 2 Avril. Vous pouvez venir le rencontrer

Galerie ECRITURES 1 rue Pierre Petit 03 100 MONTLUCON,ecritures-15609.html

Ami Barak: exposition Mohamed El Baz

Ami Barak
3 passage Rauch
f-75011 Paris
m/ +33 684304419
t/ +33 954750466

exposition anne de bodt à la galerie didier devillez

Retrouvez Anne Debodt sur

53, rue Emmanuel Van Driessche / 1050 Bruxelles (Belgique) / +32(0)475
931 935 / <>

lundi 14 mars 2011

Ricardo Mbarkho: Grading the Lebanese Constitution

(c) Ricardo Mbarkho, 2011. All rights reserved.

'Grading the Lebanese Constitution' is a web based project ( where people can give a grade for any and every article of the actual Lebanese Constitution. An Overall Average Grade is constantly displayed and updated. This grading centered project with its mass evaluation process implies different ways of reading the numbers and graphs of all the statistical results. Mbarkho's work deals with data interpretation to offer multiple analysis levels relative to our role as citizens; this project tackles with the way how judgment criteria operate behind each one of the grades in order to question the utopian model of a country, an ongoing concern in Lebanon, and a renewed one in the region.

The Lazarus Corporation - Art, Writing, & Culture

The Lazarus Corporation News & Updates

alternative visual art, music & writing

At the beginning of 2011 the Lazarus Corporation was relaunched with a completely new visual design.

We'd like to know what you think of it - please have a browse and let us know!

New artwork by Françoise Duvivier

We're delighted to have loads of new artwork by Françoise Duvivier on the website, including digital collages, handmade dolls, and masks.

Below are just 3 of many new pieces by Françoise - click one or view her galleries.

The Advanced Seed



More Artists & Writers

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dimanche 13 mars 2011

"Dharma guns" : voyage dans une 'interzone'

Dharma Guns/Solaris Distribution

Dharma Guns/Solaris DistributionSolaris Distribution

La rareté sied bien à F. J Ossang. Trois ans après son dernier court-métrage, Ciel éteint, quatorze ans après son dernier long, Docteur Chance, le réalisateur français revient au cinéma avec un bel oxymore en guise de titre (littéralement : "Les Fusils de l'enseignement du Bouddha"), et un style qui n'a rien perdu de sa puissance d'évocation : compositions plastiques d'une beauté entêtante, associations énigmatiques de textes, d'images, de sons, ancrage dans une mythologie personnelle du cinéma qui tire des cordes entre l'expressionnisme muet et la nouvelle vague sans s'interdire des incursions chez Guy Debord ou David Lynch, entre autres. Dharma Guns s'ouvre sur un premier plan étonnant, un lac filmé à la lisière de l'eau, laquelle vient trancher l'espace en son milieu comme le faisait le rasoir sur l'oeil dans Un chien andalou. Baignés dans la lumière chaude d'un après-midi d'été, deux espaces symétriques se répondent : le haut et le bas, le gazeux et le liquide, le sonore et le silencieux.... Le film qui s'annonce est un voyage dans une "interzone" - les limbes où flottent les âmes suspendues entre la vie et la mort.

Mais d'abord, la vie, consumée par les deux bouts sur un hors-bord poussé à plein régime. Piloté par une femme fatale semblant tout droit issue de l'âge d'or d'Hollywood, le bateau glisse sur la surface du lac, tirant un homme en ski nautique. Reflets du soleil sur l'eau, griserie de la vitesse. Et puis c'est le choc fracassant, silence. Passage au noir et blanc.

Le skieur se réveille, censément après un long coma, et nous embarque avec lui dans un polar mental rétro-futuriste où résonnent, parmi d'autres, les échos d'Alphaville. Stan van Der Decken est son nom, assène-t-il face à l'objectif, dans un français teinté d'un fort accent. Scénariste de profession et aventurier romantique dans l'âme, il se découvre légataire testamentaire d'un certain Starkov, et embringué à partir de là dans une aventure politico-existentielle déployée selon une temporalité hallucinée. Compressions et dilatations, bonds en avant et retours en arrière, articulation entre temps vécu temps rêvé, temps imaginé, entre sensations et projections mentales... Est-ce ainsi qu'un homme se débattant entre la vie et la mort perçoit le temps ? L'intuition plastique d'Ossang est si fertile, qu'elle engage à le suivre.

Pour mettre en scène le voyage intérieur de son personnage, il joue avec les registres musicaux (du folk à l'électro industrielle), exacerbe les contrastes entre le noir et la lumière en puisant dans les formes du cinéma muet, fait résonner celles-ci avec des structures architecturales obsédantes.

De la part d'un artiste qui a créé son nom à partir d'un verset de la Bible ("Je solidifierai mon sang, j'en ferai de l'os"), il faut s'attendre à des énigmes à tous les étages. Emprunté au capitaine du Hollandais volant, ce bateau de légende condamné à hanter indéfiniment les océans, le nom Van der Decken ouvre la voie à une trame qui s'enroule dans les méandres de l'enfer, sur laquelle viennent se greffer des références au mythe d'Orphée, à Lovecraft, le look de parfait nazi d'un des personnages secondaires, une collection de codes-barres géants qui s'invite dans la danse... Le film n'exige pas de tout décrypter, au contraire. Il invite plutôt à se frayer son chemin dans la foisonnante forêt de signes qu'il organise, voire à s'y perdre.

Film français de F. J. Ossang. avec Elvire, Guy McKnight, Lionel Tua. (1 h 33.)

Isabelle Regnier