Camo Flag 2, Doris Bittar, oil on linen, 101.6 x 203.2 cm, 2011.
Cultural Transfer#3: Political Patterns – Changing Ornament
Berlin, 22nd June 2011. Political Patterns – Changing Ornament is the third exhibition of the series Cultural Transfers at the ifa-galleries in Berlin and Stuttgart. The series addresses the mutual cultural influence between different cultures which manifests itself in social norms, established languages of forms and artistic statements as well as in political, economical and social structures. The changing role of ornament in today’s globalized world represents the central aspect of the exhibition shown in the ifa-gallery Berlin from July 8th to October 3rd. Changing Ornament also marks the 20th anniversary of the ifa-gallery Berlin which was established in 1991.
The European world has always been particularly fascinated by the Oriental universe of ornamental forms. The regular, repetitive patterns have constantly been present through all eras and areas in the world’s cultures. Every epoch has developed its specific style of ornament, and today, too, we can notice a distinct change of meaning and purpose in the use of ornament in the arts, as this exhibition, curated by Sabine B. Vogel, demonstrates.
Currently, Ornament’s decorative grace transmits beauty and harmony only on the surface. It´s real purpose is to convey political points of view and communicate emotive subject matter. This playing with seemingly innocuous matter exposes the artists’ political statements and intentions in all their stridency. In recognizing that it is not about something beautiful or decorative, the viewers are jolted and pointed to the social and political conditions.
7th July 2011, 11 am
7th July 2011, 7 pm
Elke aus dem Moore
Head of the Art Department, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations
On the exhibition
Sabine B. Vogel
In Parastou Forouhar‘s (Teheran/Frankfurt) works Ornament, as a superordinate entity, reveals its totalitarian drawback whose pattern does not express beauty but torture. Also in Adriana Czernin‘s (Sofia/Vienna) paintings the proximity of regularity to a threatening compulsion becomes evident, the typical form of entangled arabesques is transformed into barbed wire.
The Paisley-Patterns in Aisha Khalid‘s (Lahore) "Paschmina-Scarf" are twinged out of thousands of fixing pins which stick out sharply on the back. Imran Qureshi (Lahore) combines the traditional language of miniature paintings with the mortal events of our era. Spraying red colour as blood all over the sheet and painting sophisticated floral ornament patterns on top, he connects death to life and violence to hope. Zena El Khalil (Beirut) confronts in her paintings the omnipresence of soldiers and weapons with arabesque patterns.
Abdulnasser Gharem (Jeddah) places armed soldiers in the center of a world full of ornament - their order reminds us of the cupola of a mosque – and questions in doing so the relation of war and religion. Philip Taaffe (New York), in contrast, uses the enormous pool of worldwide ornament and mingles the designs in psychedelic paintings. Similarly, Doris Bittar (USA), plays with the blending of patterns from different cultural spaces. With her musical instrument “Dolcimoon”, that mingles Aztec, Chinese and Arabian cultures, she brings a magical sound to the exhibition space. Her "Security Maps" are collages of patterns which usually occur on security-envelopes – thus the once peaceful art of ornamentation serves as a mirror to the political or social fears and changes of our global world today.
An accompanying catalogue of 122 pages (dt/engl) is available.
8th July to 3rd October 2011
Tuesday to Sunday, 2 pm to 7 pm
Closed on Mondays, open on public holidays
Events and Educational Programme
Friday, 8th July 2011, 5 pm
With the curator Sabine B. Vogel and the artists present
Children’s Art Programme
Sunday, 18th September 2011, 11 am – 1 pm
Everything in Disorder? On Patterns and other examples
For children older than 6 years
Entrance is free. Please register in advance.
20 years´ ifa-gallery in Berlin
Thursday, 8th September 2011, 5 pm
ifa – connecting cultures
The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, ifa) is an organization operating worldwide to promote artistic exchange and dialogue between civil societies and to provide information about foreign cultural policy.
As the leading German institution for international cultural exchange, ifa devises and organizes German contemporary art exhibitions worldwide. We fund artists' exhibition projects and award scholarships; the ifa galleries in Stuttgart and Berlin feature contemporary art, architecture and design from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.