University of Applied Arts, Vienna
Mohammed Al-Hawajri, Masoumeh Bakhtiary, Binu Bhaskar, Madhu and Hazra Chitrakar, Rajib Chowdhury, Ramesch Daha, Natasha de Betak, Majid Fathizadeh, Debesh Goswami, Probir Gupta, Ghazaleh Hedayat, Taha Heydary, Khaled Jarrar, Rajkamal Kahlon, Katayoun Karami, Leena Kejriwal, Amir Mobed, Masoumeh Mozafari, Tarzan and Arab Nasser, Charly Nijensohn, Amin Nourani, Lisl Ponger, Simit Raveshia, Oliver Ressler, Atefeh Samaei, Rozita Sharafjahan and JJ Xi
The exhibition, curated by Shaheen Merali, brings together art from various countries and geographies. Many of the works provide a unique opportunity to view the challenging shifts in political and social structures that are propelled by real and imagined globalisation. These responses have developed as the aesthetic contracts of artists picturing the aftermath of questioning the hubris of global capitalism in the guise of democracy.
Many of the artists re-contextualise the symbiotic relationship between the subject and the state, trying to understand the place of both ideological and state power in real lives and experiences. Much of the work is rooted in an act of performance capturing the moment at which historical and traditional references of personal and collective identity are voiced or silenced within present-day precariousness.
In globally marking and then representing the larger context for contested realities, Fragile Hands continues the curator’s ongoing effort over the past six years to present singular geopolitical positions, focusing on exhibitions of work originating from selected countries and territories, particularly Iran, India and Palestine. Large group exhibitions have been shown at the Freies Museum, Berlin; P21 Gallery, London; Guild Gallery, Mumbai; Tokyo Gallery; ACC Galerie Weimar; Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam and Sala Alcala 31, Madrid.
Fragile Hands presents a partial summation of this research into subjectivities and further foregrounds artists' sensitivity to these issues, allowing a greater understanding of the often unique times and obstacles that are shaping the wider world as it moves from pre-millennial exuberance to post-global reconfiguration.
This is the first step in a series of exhibitions, publications and catalogues to be realised during the coming years. The project centres on the notion of the historical witness, providing a platform from which artists can commune with the wider forums of the world and address the fictions of democracy and democratic values.
Text by Shaheen Merali