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Beirut – New York – Naples

09.10.2014. Art & Culture

Since 2005, MADRE – the Donnaregina contemporary art museum – has represented a sounding-board for the energies of Naples’ vibrant art scene, staging a series of world-class exhibitions dedicated to Italian and international artists. Housed in a nineteenth-century palazzo in the heart of Naples that was converted into a gallery space under the supervision of Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza Veira, the Museum’s 7,200 square metres takes in two floors of exhibition spaces plus a café, restaurant, bookshop, auditorium and Ab Ovo, a striking permanent work in ceramic tile and fresco by local boy Francesco Clemente.

Opening on 11 October, The MADRE’s major autumn 2014 show, Preface, is dedicated to New-York-based Lebanese artist Walid Raad. One of the most influential Middle Eastern artists working today, Raad is fascinated by the elusiveness of historical facts, by dogged human attempts to make sense of the world, by the way art is inevitably in and of the processes it charts. Organised in collaboration with the Carré d’Art-Musée d’art contemporain in Nîmes, the exhibition consists of two sections. Downstairs is a broad selection of works from the cycle Scratching on Things I Could Disavow (2007-ongoing), which grows out of a series of artistic, political and economic phenomena that have emerged in the Arab world in recent years. Upstairs in the second-floor galleries are photographic series from the The Atlas Group project (1989-2004) – an invented collective that is just one of this elusive artist’s many smokescreens. Raad used The Atlas Group to explore the political, social, cultural, psychological and aesthetic effects of the civil war that has plagued his homeland Lebanon between 1975 and 1990.

Running until 19 January, Preface develops as a fascinating exhibition narrative, combining video, photography, installation, sculpture, books, performance in an engaging, layered reflection on politics and performance.


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