Curatorial Studies & Urban Research
The Main exhibition, titled Public/Private, is a series of indoor and outdoor installations that engage with the street, the plaza, the house, and the sidewalk. Video, photography, sculpture, and sound are reframed outside the white walls of the gallery and actively integrate themselves in the banal space of the street within the spectacular timeframe of the event. Challenging the white cube of the gallery with its traditional hierarchy of critical reception, elitist audience, and capitalist market has been a focus for contemporary arts and curatorial practices globally in recent times. In this particular instance, the temporality of the exhibition format is explored in the tradition of John Hejduk’s Masques. A compendium of text, symbol, history, and performance, Hejduk’s urban installations are meant to lead the viewer to a greater comprehension of the citizen’s role in the creation of community.
Public/Private, in turn, recasts human artefacts (ranging from objects, artworks, architecture, literature, and music) outside the gallery walls in an attempt to capture urban public space as a primordial source of collective consciousness. Each artist speculates on the complexity of the current state of Al-Balad with their unique energy and technical rigor. Themes like ancient and recent histories, abandonment, appropriation, expropriation, metropolitanism, public conduct, and intimacy are extrapolated from the artists’ personal engagement with Al-Balad. The audience is confronted with a set of interventions that radically transform their understanding of their surroundings by augmenting their everyday realities and framing them via discursive debate. The physical elements that shape the urban environment emerge as anchors of lived experience juxtaposed against the ephemeral functionality of the works.
program: arts & culture
location: jeddah, ksa
duration: 12 weeks
commissioner: Ministry of Culture, Saudi Art Council