A weekend getaway in a dessert oasis with some of the world's most celebrated contemporary artists? Sounds too good to be true. But later this week, from April 18 to 21, Asia Society India Centre is offering members an opportunity to take part in a weekend-long art tour at the 2013 Sharjah Biennial.
In recent years the Sharjah Biennial has become a highly-anticipated global art event and one of the most important contemporary art venues in the Middle East. This year’s showcase features a roster of international art stars like Olafur Eliasson, Elizabeth Peyton, Matthew Barney, and Yang Fudong, whose five-part film Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest was exhibited at Asia Society Museum in 2009. Mumbai-based Shilpa Gupta, subject of a studio visit with Asia Society India Centre last spring, is also one of the exhibiting artists.
Participants in the special weekend trip will have a chance to see the Biennial with an introduction by its curator, Yuko Hasegawa. Performances by Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda and Lebanese musician Charbel Haber, and a dinner hosted by Sharjah Art Foundation President and Director Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi round out the weekend, along with a visit to the Sharjah Art Museum, film screenings and special dinners.
The 2013 Biennial's title, Re:emerge: Towards a New Cultural Cartography, outlines its aims of redefining new approaches to examining contemporary art from a transnational lens.
"I think everyone's programming has had to shift to become a bit more interesting, diverse and stable," said Laila Binbrek, a Canadian-Arab artist who directs Dubai's prestigious gallery The Third Line. Speaking to Stephanie Bailey of Ocula Reports, Binbrek continued: "The Sharjah Biennial is not about cashing in on people's interests in whatever is hot. It is a place where not only people can discover what we are doing out here, but ... gives us a chance to discover what other people are doing."
"I think each biennial should consciously generate a project out of its local conditions. That project might be: let's understand more about global art from the West and how it intersects with the aesthetic world we live in. The possibilities are endless, but they will remain artificially limited if each curator who is assigned a biennial doesn't rethink the form from the ground up each time s/he begins."
Video: Preview the 2013 Sharjah Biennial
Click here for complete details on Asia Society India Centre's Sharjah Biennial offer.