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ART X Lagos: Nigeria’s Art Renaissance Ocula Report ART X Lagos: Nigeria’s Art Renaissance 17 November 201817 Nov 2018 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Nigeria's art scene has flourished over the last decade, leading to a renewed interest in cultivating and supporting modern and contemporary art in the country. Ranked Africa's largest economy in 2017, making up 0.8 percent of the world's GDP, a surge in wealth amongst some individuals has led to a developing collector base (not to mention rising...

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Cao Fei Ocula Conversation Cao Fei Artist

Cao Fei's first large-scale institutional exhibition in Asia, A hollow in a world too full (8 September 2018–4 January 2019), is taking place at Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong, the city's new non-profit art centre housed in a former colonial police and prison complex in Central. Organised in collaboration with Ullens Center for Contemporary Art...

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Shanghai's West Bund and Art021 fairs overlap in 2018 Ocula Report Shanghai's West Bund and Art021 fairs overlap in 2018 17 November 201817 Nov 2018 : Diana d’Arenberg for Ocula

The last time I visited West Bund Art & Design was four years ago, when the fair was in its first year of operation: a small, boutique offering held in a cavernous hangar that seemed too big for it. Much has changed since then. Mirroring the rapid development of the city itself, West Bund has grown from 25 galleries in 2014 to a fair that...

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Rayyane Tabet's practice focuses on the use of objects, often of a personal nature, as a starting point for the exploration of memory and individual narratives. Tabet's sculptural works, clearly influenced by his studies in architecture, act as a counterpoint to official histories; giving agency to subjective understandings of major socio-historical events. Despite their grounding in extensive research, his works usually manifest as stark, minimalist forms. Tabet's sculptures attest to the power of the object to articulate its own history, resulting in the frequent comparison of his methodology with that of an archaeologist.

For Dear Mr. Utzon, 2018, presented at the 21st Biennale of Sydney, Tabet uses a series of found objects as a means of accessing latent histories. Focusing on the connection between two disparate locations, Beirut and Sydney, Tabet presents a performance that looks at renowned architect Jørn Utzon's design for the Sydney Opera House alongside his unrealised plan to construct a subterranean theatre at Jeita Grotto, the limestone caves in Lebanon. Following the form of an open letter addressed to the architect on the eve of his 100th birthday, Dear Mr. Utzon provides the artist with a way to position himself in relation to the city, by way of Utzon's ties to Sydney and Beirut.

Inspired by an archival image of Utzon at home with his family, Tabet transforms the Utzon Room at the Sydney Opera House into a domestic interior. The artist has included a lounge suite from Utzon's 'A New Angle' furniture system, designed during the construction of the Opera House and acquired in 2006. Above the suite an original 'U336 Lamp' released by Artek in 1957 is suspended, alongside an 'Opera' pendant, launched in 2005. Other Utzon-designed objects, models, and archival material relating to both the Opera House and the Jeita Grotto project have been carefully placed in the room to construct an intimate space. The site of the performance is a significant location considering its interior design is the only one completed by Utzon in the building.

Tabet is particularly interested in disclosing a more informal portrait of the architect, focusing both on minor and major stories connected to both projects. Starting from the welcoming space of a domestic setting, Tabet's narrative gradually recovers lesser-known, obscured stories, either tenuously or directly associated with the Sydney Opera House or the Jeita Grotto.

The only physical remnant of the performance are reproduced leaflets, distributed at each venue of the 21st Biennale of Sydney, which read 'BRING UTZON BACK'. Designed and printed by a group of young architects during the controversy surrounding Utzon's dismissal from the Opera House project in 1966, the leaflet can be read as a metaphor for, and concise summation of, Tabet's project.

Tai Spruyt and Stephanie Berlangieri | Biennale of Sydney Exhibition Team | 2018
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Ocula Magazine

Manifesta 12: Cultivating Coexistence Ocula Report Manifesta 12: Cultivating Coexistence 27 July 201827 Jul 2018 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Palermo is one of many European cities undergoing major rebranding. The Sicilian capital is continually working toward shifting its reputation as a mafia stronghold and sex-trafficking hotspot to a more palatable business and tourist-friendly profile. The 1990s Primavera di Palermo social movement aimed at promoting a culture of legality,...

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Rayyane Tabet Ocula Conversation
in partnership with the 21st Biennale of Sydney
Rayyane Tabet Artist

Beirut-based artist Rayyane Tabet's practice exists at the intersection of storytelling, sculpture and architecture. Here, the physical material—be it found architectural objects or material drawn from personal archives—is revealed to contain unresolved histories or buried narratives that are then exposed through the act of...

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