Sharjah Biennial 11’s global courtyard: Architects from 5 countries to design

Chief curator Yuko Hasegawa releases details about her unique curatorial vision for the 2013 edition of the Sharjah Biennial.

Chief Curator Yuko Hasegawa recently announced the building of a brand new city structure which will house works by artists invited to participate in Sharjah Biennial 11. The theme of the 2013 event will be “the courtyard” and its metaphorical connotations in a globalised world.

The Sharjah Heritage Area. Image courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

While planning the biennial, Hasegawa was struck by the concept of the courtyard, an architectural feature that falls somewhere between public and private space. As a metaphor for social and cultural exchange, the idea of the courtyard in a globalised world is “more important than ever”. As she stated in a recent press release,

I will invite a selection of Indian, Lebanese, Belgian, Japanese, and Spanish architects to help envision a new urban structure that connects the historic area and its courtyard typology with the larger city. Within these new and traditional structures a broad range of artists will be invited to create works that will offer new experiences to be shared. Here the courtyard becomes more than a ‘place’ – it becomes a ‘condition’ where culture is nourished and true knowledge is formed.

The proposed rumination on globalisation also draws on the local history of Sharjah and the Middle East. As a historical locus for the exchange of ideas, culture and technology from the Middle Ages onward, the region is uniquely suited to position itself as a contemporary art hub for East-West dialogue. President of the Sharjah Art Foundation Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi sees the biennial as an important step towards this goal.

The 2013 Biennial will reflect Sharjah‘s long history as a place where diverse communities are encouraged to share ideas and contribute to the multi-cultural landscape that is characteristic of the Emirate. Ms Hasegawa has proposed a deeply thoughtful Biennial that will address some of the issues critical to art production in this current moment of great cultural change.

Sharjah Biennial 11 will take place from 13 March to 13 May 2013. Led by Hasegawa, participating artists will develop artwork based on the idea of the Middle Eastern courtyard, a semi-public semi-private space that promotes the exchange of diverse ideas. To date, five artists have been announced for the event: French visual artist Saadane Afif; Indian architectural art collective Studio Mumbai; renowned Chinese film artist Yang Fudong; minimalist art-architect Kazuyo Sejima; and one of Sharjah Biennial 10’s artists in residence, Wael Shawky.

PR/KN/HH

Related Topics: biennials, art in Sharjah, Yuko Hasegawa, globalisation in art

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