Courtesy of Nadim Karam and atelier Hapsitus
Lebanese artist Nadim Karam will present a new large-scale kinetic sculpture entitled Politics of Dialogue: The Merry-Go-Round as part of the group exhibition “Personal Structures” hosted by the European Cultural Centre (ECC) in the context of the Biennale Arte in Venice from 11 May to 24 November 2019 .
Politics of Dialogue tackles the underlying paradox of ineffective communication in an era marked by hyperconnectivity. In a world reigned by information networks, Karam reflects on the challenge of connecting through meaningful dialogue. At a time when geo-political institutions around the world, from the European Union to the Arab League, are suffering repeated crises of communication, Karam’s sculpture highlights the cleavage in dialogue between the political and public spheres.
Situated on the waterfront in the Marinaressa Gardens, the installation consists of seven elongated figures assembled in a circle and mounted on a rotating platform. Facing each other, the gold-painted figures morph into megaphone-like forms and seem to be locked into an intense dialogue. But as the platform turns to the audible tune of a carousel and the figures move up and down, they each take a turn to lead a discussion that only goes round and round.
Alluding to the prevalent notion of an echo chamber, Karam’s sculpture follows the artist’s long tradition of creating public art in response to moments of political and social crisis in cities as diverse as Beirut, Prague and Melbourne. From his early works on paper in the Age of Anxiety to his more recent Shout and Silence series of sculptures, Karam extracts playful absurdity from adversity, pointing to the multilayered complexities of our societies.
Karam invites viewers to observe Politics of Dialogue like a scene from a contemporary power game. sive figures are isolated and dislocated from their surroundings,
suggesting the rupture between political dialogue and the public arena. Represented through an absurdist lens, the scene not only underlines the frugality of public and political will, but also accentuates the inflated use of the term “dialogue” which has transformed it into a commodity. Karam consequently interrogates the meaning of dialogue and its driving force.
As Karam explains , “Dialogue assumes the creation of a level playing field; however, it often happens in isolation from the area or population of concern becoming thus futile and obsolete. Politics of Dialogue is about communication confined in a bubble. The longer the dialogue, the more deafening it becomes. It is a trapped dialogue, rotating upon itself, and offered to the observer on a shiny platter.
With dialogue we don’t always reach anywhere, we just rotate around the surface; it’s a
merry-go-round. It could be partly taken as Brexit, or the EU itself. When the countries meet they don’t necessarily come away with any results. It’s the same in Lebanon, and all over the world. We see this happening more and more, democracies are losing themselves in dialogue.”
PERSONAL STRUCTURES - Identities Hosted by the ECC, the fifth edition of the biennial art exhibition PERSONAL STRUCTURES showcases a cross-section of contemporary art today, exhibiting a combination of internationally acclaimed and emerging artists from around the world. The theme of the 2019 iteration of the exhibition is ‘Identities’.
Taking place at three prestigious locations across Venice - Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Mora, and the Giardini della Marinaressa - the exhibition presents many new commissions in a broad variety of artistic media in response to the theme. With more than 200 participating artists from over 40 countries, the exhibition brings together a diverse spectrum of subjectivities and approaches.
Previous artists exhibited as part of PERSONAL STRUCTURES include leading artists such as Marina Abramović, Carl Andre, Antony Gormley, Peter Halley, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis, François, Hermann Nitsch, Yoko Ono, Roman Opalka, Rene Rietmeyer and Ben Vautier. The final selection of participating artists for 2019 alongside Nadim Karam is soon to be announced.