[NetBehaviour] Systems and Patterns

info info at furtherfield.org
Thu Sep 13 10:29:27 CEST 2012

Systems and Patterns

The International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC),
Ljubljana, Slovenia

28 September–18 November 2012

Curator: Nevenka Šivavec

Exhibiting artists:

Nazgol Ansarinia, Jananne Al-Ani, Taysir Batniji, Hala Elkoussy, Mounir 

Abdulnasser Gharem, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hefuna, Rachid Koraïchi, Moataz Nasr,

Walid Siti, Hassan Sharif, Slavs and Tatars.

The exhibition Systems and Patterns presents contemporary art from the 
Middle East.

It offers a selection of artists who come primarily from the context of 
Islamic culture and

who put into question today’s global artistic universalism, which, while 
it may take cultural

differences and national identities into account within the global art 
system, at the same

time also neutralizes them. The exhibition overturns our inherited and 

stereotypes about Islamic society and culture by giving us insight into 
contemporary urban

Arabic and Iranian cultures and presents artists who convey political 
messages in restrained

and non-spectacular ways.

The exhibition connects present-day Middle Eastern art with research on 
the history of the

Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana. As a museum that specializes in 
the art of printing and

printmaking, the International Centre of Graphic Arts is also the 
producer of the biennial.

Founded in 1955, at a time when the former Yugoslavia occupied a unique 
geopolitical position,

the Ljubljana biennial quickly established itself as an event that, very 
early on, transcended

the Eurocentric perspective by showing art production from the so-called 
Third World, and

especially from the non-aligned countries – including artists from the 
Middle East. From its

beginning and almost to the end of the 1990s, the biennial was committed 
to the universalist

modernist paradigm. With the changes in the social and political 
situation, this paradigm has

transformed itself into globalization and discursive art practices, but 
the question of artistic

universalism remains pertinent even today.

The heterogeneous artworks presented in Systems and Patterns encompass a 
broad variety

of artistic languages, from contemporary documentarism to 
traditionalism. The “systems” here

are both systems of representation and individual artistic systems. The 
“patterns” are ornaments,

repetitive motifs, and basic visual elements, which form the building 
blocks of seriality, repetition,

symmetry, and geometricism. Behind the repetition of decorative forms, 
we find messages that

underscore the complexity of the current social and economic existence. 
Resisting the

stereotypical gaze on the art of the Middle East, the exhibition 
presents works that in their formal

visual elements consistently transcend the political narrative.

The exhibition is accompanied by a lively interdisciplinary programme 
(for details, go

to http://www.mglc-lj.si) and a bilingual (Slovene and English) 
catalogue with the essays by

the Nevenka Šivavec and Nat Muller.

For more information and images, contact Lili Šturm: lili.sturm at mglc-lj.si
Tel. + 386 (0)1 2413 818

International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC)
Tivoli Mansion
Pod turnom 3
1000 Ljubljana


Opening: Friday, 28 September 2012, at 7 pm.
Viewing hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am.–6 pm., closed on Mondays

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