bienalsur jeddah

BIENALSUR, A Far-Reaching Platform For Art And Culture, Lands in Jeddah For The First Time

December 12, 2021 - Roula Allam for About Her

Jeddah’s edition addresses the acoustic phenomena of echo and reverberation, utilising them as metaphors for the ways in which we naturally move in the world between analogue and virtual situations. And visual artist Shono is presenting a work that examines the dilemma of time, delving into its cycles of revelation and concealment.

The creative, whose work ranges from intimate drawings and large scale sculptural works to robotic and technological pieces, offers a series of mechanical devices. “The span and the divide” installation demonstrates processes of erosion and how they can reshape the future. Additionally, Shono, who has had commissions as well as single and group shows across the Kingdom, including last year’s Desert X in Al Ula, also installed imaginary remnants of other times. These were exposed to the wind and the movement of the sand.

“When I was younger, I heard the story of a pilot who reported unidentified structures emerging from the sand during a training mission over the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia,” said Shono, who has also exhibited and had residencies in different spots around the globe, like Berlin, London and Toronto. “The next day, the pilot flew over those coordinates again, but the structures had disappeared, apparently swallowed up by a sea of sand. Sands choose what to reveal and what to hide. In my art, I explore change over time and the revelation of different conditions of a work's existence. I hope my work invites creative reflection on these processes.”

The other participating artists from the Kingdom are Ahaad Alamoudi, Daniah Alsaleh, Lina Gazzaz and Filwa Nazer. Additionally, some of the international artists include Darren Almond, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Hugo Aveta, Cécile Bart, Daniel Canogar and Tanja Deman. Sève Favre, Gabriela Golder, Valérie Jouve, Chris Larson, Anaïs Lelièvre, Sujin Lim, Rafael Lozano- Hemmer, Matilde Marin, Angelika Markul and Tony Oursler are also showcasing works during this BIENALSUR.

Hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and organised by the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), Diana B. Wechsler, BIENALSUR’s Artistic Director, is the curator behind the exciting edition.

Anibal Jozami, General Director of UNTREF expressed his satisfaction with the inaugural Jeddah biennale and its exceptional, strategic venue. 

“Art triggers the imagination, shaping the way we see and think about the contemporary world. As an international traveling biennial, BIENALSUR is a medium for building bridges between local and global communities, connecting artists, curators and diverse social groups across five continents in a collaborative global network," Jozami, who is also General Director of BIENALSUR, said.


About Qasr Khuzam
While BIENALSUR exhibitions are held at amazing different museums, cultural centers, buildings and iconic areas of public space, Qasr Khuzam (Khuzam Palace) is special for several reasons. It served as the first residence in Jeddah for King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia. The palace is characterised by its unique architectural style featuring art nouveau and art deco influences. The large entry halls and symmetrical staircases, succeeded by interconnected wings, all help to make a unique backdrop for the exhibition.

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