If ArtReview now knows more about the genealogy of courtyards than it ever expected to, we’re grateful to the thoroughgoing publicity department of Sharjah Biennial 11. Or actually, to curator Yuko Hasegawa’s presiding metaphor for the show, positing the Arabian Peninsula as a courtyardlike midpoint between East and West, where public and private interests meet; a flashpoint for cultural exchange. (So the press materials also treat us to a microhistory of globalisation, hustling readers from Ancient Rome to the Mughals to the eastern end of the Silk Road and along the Mediterranean coast to Africa.) What Hasegawa’s focus requires is ‘artworks that explore the complexity and diversity of cultures, societies, and political relations, and encourage new forms of dialogue’. What it means is site-specific commissions by 24 artists/practitioners, highlights of which can be found in the slideshow about.
Unless otherwise stated, all projects commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.