Art in the Age of Anxiety-1593516845519

The Sharjah Art Foundation on June 26 launched its ambitious Art in the Age of Anxiety exhibition that features the works of artists from all over the world as they explore how devices and technology have altered our collective consciousness.

The exhibition was meant to open on March 21 but had to be delayed due to protective measures against the spread of COVID-19.

Curated by SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator Omar Kholeif, the exhibition presents more than 60 artworks spanning sculpture, prints, video, virtual reality, robotics and algorithmic programs developed by more than 30 international artists and collectives including Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Cory Arcangel, Wafaa Bilal, Electronic Disturbance Theater, Cao Fei, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Joshua Nathanson, Trevor Paglen, Siebren Versteeg, United Visual Artists (UVA), Guan Xiao and YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES.

Contemporary practitioners

Circles Trevor Paglen-1593516843946

One of the works to be featured is Trevor Paglen’s ‘Circles’ (2015), a video installation that offers an view into the surveillance state. It is presented alongside some of Paglen’s most iconic photographs as well as his portraits of historical figures whose faces have been run through Facebook’s facial recognition system.

Musical on identity theft

Also on view is Jenna Sutela’s musical film ‘Nimiia Cetii’ (2018) that explores consciousness, neural networks and a new Martian language. The film explores predictive policing, identity theft and the dangers of data mining, featuring US actress Tessa Thompson and ‘The Spirit of the Deep Web’ played by January Steward.

Decades of research

“Art in the Age of Anxiety explores critical questions in contemporary art and society through the work of a diverse group of artists from around the world,” said Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. “We are delighted to inaugurate Omar Kholeif’s tenure as Senior Curator and our first Director of Collections with this important exhibition.”

“This is an exhibition that grew out of my own anxiety about the future. It completes over a decade’s worth of research exploring how artists explore, deconstruct and materialise the polemical issues raised by our accelerating society,” said Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation. “There are no easy answers here. Rather, this exhibition posits questions as experiences that physically and viscerally confront the viewer with their very own complicity in our everyday technological society. We look forward to seeing, hearing and feeling how our audiences will respond to the context that we have created with this special exhibition.”

Don’t miss it!

Art in the Age of Anxiety runs until September 26 at Al Mureijah Art Spaces, Sharjah. Go online to view the full list of artists and to book a free viewing. There will be a limited number of people allowed for each 45 minute viewing.