Alumni Events Around the World

“Take it like a ...”; contemporary trends in the aesthetics of violence'

Exhibition / United States
February 1, 2019 - March 29, 2019
11.00- 8.00 pm 106 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Somnath Bhatt | Issam Kourbaj | Firoz Mahmud | Qinza Najm | Sahana Ramakrishnan | Sa’dia Rehman | Mohsin Shafi | Marcelino Stuhmer | Saira Wasim
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Curated by Atif Sheikh

“Take it like a ...”; contemporary trends in the aesthetics of violence takes a look at violence as methodology and/or aesthetics in contemporary art, and the exploration of its connection to similar aesthetics in ancient art.

The show, curated by Twelve Gates’ Atif Sheikh, brings together a group of artists whose work responds to and explores the many aspects of violence in contemporary society. By referencing the aesthetics of the past, each in their own way, the tradition of depicting violence in art becomes evident; as applied to contemporary issues, the aesthetics call into question the tradition itself. As we as a global society become increasingly aware of the destructive, divisive outcomes and less convinced by the narrative in favor of the necessity of engaging in conflict, the tradition of depicting violence in art reflects this almost traumatized, fragmented reckoning. The pieces seem to seek to slow down the process of conflict enough to understand it and perhaps choose a different conclusion.
Sheikh says, “Ancient art offers a valuable insight into ancient societies and their aesthetics of violence. This is especially the case in the classical and medieval representation of the ‘Other’ as either monstrous or feminine (e.g. the ancient Greek representation of the masculine hero in juxtaposition to the feminine Barbarian enemy). Whereas war was considered noble in ancient times, it still needed justification through the representation of the enemy in art. Today, as we live in a time of multiple, simultaneous wars, violence is similarly justified by painting the ‘enemy’ as vile in the media, thereby engendering a sense of righteousness.
By exploring the resonances between the ancient and the contemporary world, the aim of my project is to stir up conversations about issues that are otherwise complacently accepted.”

Grantee: Firoz Mahmud

Website: www.twelvegatesarts.org