CHARIVARI (group show)
15 September - 16 December 2018
In the framework of the 'baroque year' 2018, the city of Oudenaarde is organizing an ambitious exhibition in their museum around Adriaen Brouwer, one of the most important and to this day unjustly unknown artists of the 17th century. Adriaen Brouwer (1605-1638) was probably born in Oudenaarde as the son of a cardboard painter of tapestries. As a transitional figure, he builds a bridge between the 16th-century Bruegel tradition and the landscape and genre scenes of the 17th century. Within architecturally dynamic, dramatic settings Brouwer introduces all sorts of characters that show the most diverse emotions and moods. Contemporaries picked up his virtuoso work: none other than Rubens and Rembrandt had works by this painter in their own collection.
We aim to offer an answer to this exhibition by bringing together a group of about 20 contemporary artists under the title CHARIVARI. We are inspired by the artistic heritage of a figure like Adriaen Brouwer with an oeuvre that shows a critical, often moralizing but always humorous look at society: obscure figures who smoke, drink, fight and gamble in a pub, a father who changes the diaper of his son, a farmer who grips a scantily clad woman. It is striking to note that the rich bourgeoisie 'ordered' these kinds of scenes to 'decorate' their homes. The quality of this work is indisputable, precisely because of its stubbornness, its game of attraction and repulsion and the enormous formal and psychological dynamics. Brouwer shares with us his view on a society that does not seem so dissimilar from ours today.
With the artists we have selected, we find an equally critical voice, but also a healthy sense of irony and sarcasm. CHARIVARI must become a ‘people’s court’, a ritual that brings together a group of people to mock or punish social norms or behavior that have been violated. According to historiography, a charivari was usually accompanied by a procession, supported by a gigantic racket, cheeky shouts, kettle music, ironic plays and songs.
Moreover, we have chosen artists who thematize and question their own position as an artist: what is their place within society, within the art world? Brouwer also portrayed himself as a drinking brother in one of his most famous scenes.
The location offered to us to set up this exhibition presents us with an interesting challenge: the Pamelekerk, situated on the banks of the Scheldt that flows right through the heart of the city. The church is still relatively active in use by the community, but is being reserved for our project. Next to this, we connect the locations of the church and the museum by occupying the café 'Adriaen Brouwer' on the central ‘Markt’ of Oudenaarde, which should become a meeting place for our visitors, and where art will also be given a place.
Navid Nuur (solo show)
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague
From April 2020
Navid Nuur (solo show)
Marta Herford Museum, Herford
From January 2020
Nine Iranian Artists in London: THE SPARK IS YOU (group show)
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
22 May - 30 August 2019
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present Nine Iranian Artists in London: THE SPARK IS YOU, a group exhibition of works by contemporary Iranian artists whose vision looks beyond the ordinary. Each piece was selected for the affinity with openness, respect and human interconnectedness evinced in the work.
The Nine Iranian Artists in London: THE SPARK IS YOU exhibition, curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Parasol unit, is presented through a prism of classical Persian poetry and, fittingly, coincides with the 200th anniversary of West-oestlicher Divan (West-Eastern Divan), 1819, a book of lyrical poems written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in homage to the fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafez. The exhibition, which includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations and film, focuses primarily on early- and mid-career artists who live either in Iran or elsewhere in an adopted country. A sense of duality exists within their works, with concepts stemming from private and collective experiences manifested either figuratively or in the abstract. Living and working in disparate parts of the world, each of the artists responds uniquely to modern society, yet a common heritage of poetry, evident in their use of metaphor and parable, runs through all their works.
Navid Nuur whose practice moves between concept and form, makes innovative and challenging works in response to human experience and abstract phenomena. The sky-blue light emanating from the 30 parallel rows of the wall-mounted Broken Blue Square, 2017, looks like neon but the cylindrical tubes are in fact filled with crushed glass and argon gas which glows an eerie blue when electrically charged. Presenting a substance that is not light per se, and what seems to be a static image but is actually a sculptural form in active chemical motion, is a reminder that appearances can be deceiving.
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice (group show)
To coincide with the 58th Venice Biennale
Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia, Venice
9 May - 23 November 2019
In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present, through a prism of classical Persian poetry, an exhibition of works by nine contemporary Iranian artists at the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia from 9 May to 23 November 2019.
Curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Parasol unit, London, THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice exhibition has at its heart the need to develop mutual respect and understanding between different nations and cultures. Fittingly, this exhibition coincides with the 200th anniversary of West-oestlicher Divan (West-Eastern Divan), 1819, a book of lyrical poems written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in homage to the fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafez.
The nine artists, all of whose vision looks beyond the ordinary, were selected for the affinity with openness, respect and human interconnectedness that is evinced in their work. Stemming directly from a long and magnificent tradition of Persian poetry, this philosophy of life is a fundamental element of the Iranian/Persian character. Dialogues open up across the exhibition, not only between the different generations of artists and the geographical regions from which they now draw inspiration, but also through a common desire to interact openly and respectfully with others. And, just as Goethe through his poetry sought to bridge East and West, these artists too seek to communicate mutually across all borders.
THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, multi-media and film brings together Iranian artists of different ages, who now live and work either in or outside of Iran. Having had a similar early education and grounding in classical Persian poetry they have all benefited from thought processes that are rooted in concepts such as the use of metaphor, openness, dialogue and figurative thinking. Shown together, their works create a sense of exchange that is felt in many ways across and beyond the exhibition, not only between the art works but also in the desire of the artists to communicate with thinkers from other cultures, and finally between art and music.
Venice, with its renowned history of being central to so many connections between East and West, is an ideal setting for The Spark is You exhibition. Presented at the Conservatorio di Musica in Venice, visual art and music interact harmoniously, a reminder that different art forms are all part of a single discourse. Each artist presents their work in a separate room or an outdoor courtyard, which allows ample mental space for viewers to reflect on the exhibition and create their own dialogue with and between the works.
THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice exhibition highlights the vital importance of open dialogue in the development of greater understanding between all nations. Particularly in the tumultuous and uncertain times of today, this exhibition is timely and informative in ways that we hope will further engender curiosity, understanding and appreciation of other cultures and stimulate more conversations.