'This is a wonderful opportunity to present the works of contemporary Arab and Iranian artists and to showcase works in various artistic media that incorporate text. The use of writing is familiar theme in the field of contemporary Arab and Iranian art. We want to highlight and celebrate that. Nevertheless, the use of the Arabic language renders the art from this region as ‘exotic’ to outsiders. In highlighting these so-called ‘exotic’ elements, we hope that viewers will question the nature of exoticism and appreciate the works, which are among the best examples from each of the artists selected. As a research-based exhibition, the selection was dependent on the works’ relevance to the theme of the show rather than the time that the works were produced;' says Sheikha Lulu Al-Sabah, co-founder of JAMM.
'Exoticism is the charm of the unfamiliar. It is a relative characteristic, a way of perceiving the world. Anything can be viewed as exotic, depending on what is being perceived, by whom, where and when. There exists a lingual communication between an artwork and the observer as the observer has her own interpretation of the concept that she confronts. There is no absolute interpretation of an artwork. In changing the viewpoint in any which way, be it sociological, political, aesthetically or otherwise, it brings a new meaning to the artwork. ... Due to sociopolitical and economic changes in recent decades, there has been a new focus on Asian and Middle Eastern art and particularly, the stereotypical elements of the art from these regions, which differentiates it from the art that is being produced in other parts of the world. This new focus on these so-called exotic elements has raised a wave of pseudo intellectual criticism questioning the concept of exoticism as a whole. ...More recent trends use writing in the same vein as it was used in the Dada activities of the 1920s and beyond. Sometimes the script acts as an audio mise-en-scène for the art piece. Regardless, text makes the art appear exotic because its ambiguity;' writes the curator Ali Bakhtiari in the exhibition catalogue.
JAMM was founded by Kuwait based art-journalist and former Middle East Director for Philips de Pury, Lulu M. Al-Sabah and former head of Christie’s, Middle East, Lydia Limerick. Their mission is to create cultural projects without geographical boundary.
Projects range from large-scale exhibitions and events to small-scale activities focuses on the development of the art market in the Middle East and other key regional markets. For more information on JAMM, please visit www.jamm-art.com
For more information on JAMM, please contact: Lulu Al Sabah: firstname.lastname@example.org, Gazala Shaikh: email@example.com