Contemporary Artistic Revolutions: An Institutional Perspective

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Contemporary Artistic Revolutions: An Institutional Perspective

AUB Byblos Bank Art Gallery / ABU Art Collections and Galleries

Department of Fine Arts and Art History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon


On display until 15 July 2017


1 and 2 March 2017

At the beginning of March, at the invitation of the American University of Beirut (AUB), the former and the current artistic directors of Škuc Gallery Vladimir Vidmar and Tevž Logar attended an exhibition and a conference entitled Contemporary Artistic Revolutions: An Institutional Perspective. In Lebanon, Vidmar and Logar presented a study of Janja Žvegelj’s project Squash as a symptomatic interrogation of the transition of art into the paradigm of contemporaneity. In 1998, Žvegelj performed a project called Squash at Škuc Gallery, in which she thematised the newly established institutional relations and relations of production that characterise contemporary art. With Gregor Podnar, Škuc Gallery’s artistic director at the time, Žvegelj played a tournament of squash in the gallery.

Octavian Esanu, the curator at the AUB Gallery, posed a question to the participants of the exhibition/research project: what was and what is contemporary art? Art historians, critics, artists and philosophers provided further questions, answers and responses in their studies. The categories of “contemporary”, “contemporary art” and “contemporaneity” were considered from several perspectives: as categories of art historical periodisation (or resistance to periodisation); as modes of articulation of temporality (or the impossibility of such articulation); as manifestations of political, economic and ideological contradictions of late capitalism (or a desire to repress the political); as symptoms of the many diseases of globalisation and of increasing economic inequality (or an affirmative embrace of the “global village” at whatever cost); as part of the Western narrative of “progress” or as the more recent “transition to democracy” (or as a critique in the context of post-colonial or post-socialist histories).

The Contemporary Artistic Revolutions project develops such discussions in the formats of exhibition, conference and publication and it searches for new ways of addressing the questions of the contemporary by shifting the emphasis towards the phenomena of contemporary art in non-Western contexts.

Artists in the exhibition: Gordana Anđelić-Galić (Bosnia and Herzegovina); Ahmed Badri (Egypt); Amal Bohsali (Lebanon); Alexander Brener (Russia); Delve Institute (Croatia); Arman Grigoryan and The 3rd Floor Movement (Armenia); Abhishek Hazra (India); IRWIN (Slovenia); Želimir Koščević (former Yugoslavia); NSK (Slovenia); Shady El-Noshokaty (Egypt); Eduardo Paolozzi (United Kingdom); Mark Verlan (Moldova); Walid Sadek (Lebanon); Janja Žvegelj (Slovenia)

Participants at the conference and in the publication: Ivana Bago (Duke University; Delve – Institute for Duration, Location and Variables); Lucy Bayley (Middlesex University and the Institute of Contemporary Arts); Barbara Borčić (SCCA-Ljubljana); Natasha Gasparian (American University of Beirut); Sabih Ahmed (Asia Art Archive) and  Nida Ghouse (Mumbai Art Room); Octavian Eșanu (American University of Beirut); Angela Haratyunyan (American University of Beirut); Tevž Logar and Vladimir Vidmar (Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia); Kristóf Nagy (Artpool Art Research Center – Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest); Dina Aboul Fotouh (Home Workspace Program Ashkal Alwan, Beirut); Peter Osborne (Kingston University London); Amila Puzić (Džemal Bijedić University, Mostar); Miško Šuvaković (Faculty of Media and Communication, Beograd)