My Top 15 Exhibitions of 2015
Here are my top 15 exhibitions of the year. The list includes exhibitions I visited in the UAE and Europe.
1. Taryn Simon - Rear Views, A Star-forming Nebula, and the Office of Foreign Propaganda
Jeu de Paume, Paris
24th February - 17th May 2015
2. Harry Gruyaert
Maison Européenne de la Photographie , Paris
15th April - 14th June 2015
23rd October - 19th December 2015
Exhibition view „Jonny“, 2015, insitu Berlin. Photo: Markus Georg
starring amongst others Ivan Argote, Nancy Buchanan, Distruktur, Lotte Meret Effinger, Viking Eggeling, VALIE EXPORT, Sylvie Fleury, George Petrou, Elisa Pône, Jonnine Standish.
Jonny is not from this world. She’s a vision of a late 60s utopian fantasy drawing power from her feminine body while being fiercely independent, confident and direct. Remember Brigitte Bardot in “And God Created Woman (Et Dieu... créa la femme)”? She can do that. Remember Marlon Brando in “The Wild One.”? Jonny can do that as well.
You will most likely first recognise her by her husky voice ringing with a deadpan tone. She is not interested in gender binaries, norms or hierarchies created by human societies. Jonny’s an enigmatic lone wolf who doesn’t break the rules because she doesn’t believe in them in the first place.
Jonny was that young girl who had a certain rosy innocence and naive charm about her. Many foolish hearts have been burnt trying to pin her down, yet Jonny is so far removed from this world that she has somehow become transcendent: a satellite orbiting in space. She’s your romanticised dreamgirl from the imagined future that has already passed.
I love the exhibition teaser videos. Here's one of them. You can see the rest here.
East Wing, Dubai
12th March - 7th May 2015
5. Michelangelo Antonioni exhibitions
There's a tie here because I went to two exhibitions dedicated to Michelangelo Anotnioni this year. The first one was Antonioni: The Origins of Pop at La Cinémathèque française in Paris in April. The second one was Michelangelo Antonioni: Il maestro del cinema moderno at EYE in Amsterdam, in October. Both were different curatorially, but both equally good.
Antonioni: The Origins of Pop
La Cinémathèque française
9th April - 19th July 2015
Michelangelo Antonioni: Il maestro del cinema moderno
11th September - 17th January 2016
You can read about Michelangelo Antonioni: Il maestro del cinema moderno here.
6. Alec Soth - Gathered Leaves
Science Museum, London
6th October 2015- 28th March 2015
7. Emily Jacir - Europa
Whitechapel Gallery, London
8. Foam Magnum Contact Sheets
11th September - 9th December 2015
9. Slavs and Tatars - Mirrors for Princes: Both Sides of the Tongue
NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, Abu Dhabi
28th February - May 30 2015
10. Sadik Kwaish Alfraji - Driven by Storms (Ali’s Boat)
Ayyam Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
9 March - 30 April 2015
11. Anahita Razmi - Sharghzadegi
Carbon 12, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
16 March - 18th May 2015
My favourite piece from this exhibition was this video.
The video AAAAAAAAAAAH is sampling a selection of cut-up audio tracks appropriated from pop songs and Islamic azans, that both use the line “AAAAAAAAAAAH” as part of their melodic structure. Within the azan (call to prayer), “AAAAAAAAAAAH” is leading to the word “Allah”, the lengthening of the words and sounds by the singer/muezzin is a variable characteristic. In pop music “AAAAAAAAAAAH” links to various random refrains, intermediate melodies and musical bridges.
The video is merging different audio AAAH-extracts - now abstract artifacts - while a hardly determinable figure wearing a black sequin dress is performing body movements to the melodies. The sparkling sequins are sometimes emerging from, sometimes blending into a black background; differences and similarities are alternating on both sound and visual levels.
12. Gil Heitor Cortesão - Out of Season
Carbon 12, Dubai
12th January – 8th March 2015
13. George Awde - Fragile States
East Wing, Dubai
14th May - 25th June 2015
14. Laura El-Tantawy - In the Shadow of the Pyramids
Gulf Photo Plus, Dubai
4th April 2015
15. Zsolt Bodoni - The Shining Path
Green Art Gallery, Dubai
12th January - 7th March 2015
See more images and about the exhibition here. Also note the interview with the artist in the video below.
Zsolt Bodoni, Shadow Movements no. 8, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 185 cm