Political Patterns – Changing Ornaments

21 Oct - 18 Dec 2011

Aisha Khalid, Shikwa and Jawab, 2010
© Courtesy: The Rose Trust, Dubai
The exhibition is curated by Sabine B. Vogel, Vienna
21 October - 18 December, 2011

Doris Bittar, Adriana Czernin, Parastou Forouhar, Abdulnasser Gharem,
Aisha Khalid, Zena el Khalil, Imran Qureshi, Philip Taaffe

"Political Patterns – Changing Ornaments" is the third exhibition in the series Cultural Transfers at the ifa galleries in Berlin and Stuttgart; the exhibition also marks the 20th anniversary of the ifa gallery Berlin, which was established in 1991.

The series "Cultural Transfers" 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.
While the exhibition "Another Country" – borrowing from the documenta’s motto about the migration of form(s) – was concerned with encounters and transnational migration not only of motifs but also of techniques, strategies and ideas, and while "Cut & Mix" examined the cultural appropriation and artistic statements of contemporary art in Peru and Chile, "Political Patterns" now turns towards the changing role of ornaments in today's globalised world, underscoring the fact that cultural influences are always two-way.

Whereas the European world has always been particularly fascinated by the Oriental universe of ornamental forms, the regular, repetitive patterns in the world’s cultures are a constant in all eras and areas. Every epoch has developed its specific ornaments, and today too we can notice a distinct change of meaning and purpose in the use of ornaments in the arts. The ornament is well-suited to transport political topics, conveying with its decorative appearance a harmless impression at first, until the explosive contents reveal themselves. This playing with seemingly innocuous matter exposes the artists’ political statements and intentions in all their stridency. In recognising that it is not about something beautiful or decorative, the viewers are jolted and pointed to the social and political conditions.

Tags: Adriana Czernin, Parastou Forouhar, Abdulnasser Gharem, Aisha Khalid, Imran Qureshi, Philip Taaffe