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BIENALSUR returns to Saudi Arabia with interactive exhibition
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 14 - 10 - 2021

The International Biennial of Contemporary Art of the South, organized by the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) in Argentina, is returning to Saudi Arabia with the exhibition Echoes: A world between the analogue and the virtual.
Hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the exhibition will open on October 15 at the JAX District in Ad-Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh, and it will later move to the historical site of Qasr Khuzam in Jeddah on November 30. More than 20 artists from 14 countries will participate in the exhibition, curated by BIENALSUR's Artistic Director, Diana B. Wechsler.
The exhibition addresses the acoustic phenomena of echo and reverberation, utilizing them as metaphors for the ways in which we naturally move in the world between analogue and virtual situations.
"A feeling of surprise and estrangement will be the search engine in this artistic proposal, which aims to instill uncertainty in the spectator, and hence the wish to explore and think creatively about it. The challenge of a curatorial narrative is not only related to the selection of artists and works, but also to the way in which their relationship in the space is presented, trying to produce a dynamic proposal in which the public is encouraged to choose different paths and establish their own relationship with the works. The idea is to imagine each visitor following their own itinerary and along it, creating their own narratives", said Wechsler.
The notion of the relativization of space is a recurring theme in the works of artists Joël Andrianomearisoa, Cécile Bart, Daniel Canogar, Anaïs Lelièvre, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Muhannad Shono, and Carola Zech, finding the perfect counterpoint in the works of Darren Almond and Hugo Aveta, where they attempt to relativize time.
Visitors will be invited to analyze thoughts from memory, history, and the inclusion of past and present imaginaries in video installations by artists Tanja Deman, Gabriela Golder, Chris Larson, Matilde Marin, Angelika Markul and Sujin Lim, as well as through the photographs of Valérie Jouve and the interactive objects of Sève Favre, while contemplating the state of the individual in the works of Daniah Alsaleh, Lina Gazzaz, and Tony Oursler.
Commenting on the partnership with Saudi Arabia, Anibal Jozami, General Director of UNTREF and General Director of BIENALSUR, said, "BIENALSUR is a space for continuous dialogue and the participation of these artists from diverse backgrounds in Saudi Arabia is part of a necessary, vital, and promising context of cultural exchange. It links artists, curators and diverse social groups from different backgrounds and experiences on an equal footing, thus building new circuits of exchange only possible within the framework of this project.
"With an unprecedented modality, it includes curatorial works and projects that result from an international open call, along with guest artists and works from collections of different origins.
"This unique curatorial strategy gives rise to exhibitions and interventions in museum collections and public spaces that reflect the unique characteristics of each associated institution, while at the same time it fosters a global dialogue on the most urgent issues of our time through its curatorial axes."
As part of the partnership between BIENALSUR and the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the ministry is also commissioning the works of participating Saudi artists, which are currently on display for the first time in Buenos Aires and Montevideo for the third edition of the traveling biennale.
The exhibition will be on display at the JAX District in Ad-Diriyah until November 15 and at Qasr Khuzam in Jeddah, from November 30 until December 30. — SPA

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