Book burning, past and present: 3 artistic responses

Denise Clarke explores the long history of book burning and how three artists have responded to these acts of destruction. Books like visual art, are the locus for powerful ideas. They bring with them the notion of speculation, they are restless creatures carrying with them the potential for change. Artists have responded to their destruction in a multitude of ways. This essay represents just one line of flight sparked by a single exhibition Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria currently at the British Museum. It is intended as a provocation for further inquiry into “the book” – the nature of the relationship between contemporary artists, books and their research practices, the synergies between word and image and the creation and circulation of artists books.

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Denise Clarke
Chisenhale Interviews: Lawrence Abu Hamdan 

Chisenhale Interviews: Lawrence Abu Hamdan 
Interviewed by Ellen Greig, Curator: Commissions, Chisenhale Gallery on Wednesday 12 September 2018 at Chisenhale Gallery, London. Chisenhale Interviews series editor, Polly Staple, Director, Chisenhale Gallery. 

Arts Cabinet is very grateful to Chisenhale Gallery for sharing this interview in our Editorial, a valuable contribution to the expansion of knowledge on artistic research.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Earwitness Inventory (2018). Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London in partnership with: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate.

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Conference review: Axis of solidarity: Landmarks, Platforms, Futures // Tate Modern 23-25 FEBRUARY 2019

Utopian as all this might sound, Tate’s conference was not all about hazy reminiscence and vague hagiography. Amidst a street demonstration protesting the Bank of England’s refusal to hand over billions of dollars belonging to Venezuela until a new government is installed, a central concern of the conference became about the merits or otherwise of large conferences as representing state/institutional voices vis-a vis grassroots organisations, non-institutional voices.

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Soufiane Ababri in conversation with Cécile Bourne-Farrell

On the eve of his exhibition Here is a Strange and Bitter Crop at Space Gallery in London, curator Cécile Bourne-Farrell spoke to artist Soufiane Ababri about the issues motivating his work. Engaging with subjects as wide-ranging as the global banana trade to football, Ababri tackles issues of social injustice, colonial exploitation and the history of representation. Mobilising the words of Malcolm X and A Strange and Bitter Fruit - Billie Halliday’s plangent anthem to racial injustice - Ababri aims to dislodge tropes, give voice to marginalised peoples thus positioning his art as a vessel for potential change.

Arts Cabinet is very grateful to Something We Africans Got for co-sharing the publication of this conversation.

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Abu-Dhabi Art 2018: Thoughts on the invisible and the intangible

Editor-Researcher Denise Clarke explores the role and nature of artistic research practices in the extra-commercial exhibitions and activities at Abu-Dhabi Art 2018. Inherent in the artworks discussed in this essay, is the imperative to question, to probe to challenge knowledge and to partake in the negotiations between the representable and the intangible, the visible and the invisible. They engage with knowledge in a variety of ways to focus on its production and its loss, it’s retrieval and documentation and its multifarious mutations.

Photographs from the ongoing project Odysseus, by the artist Tarek al-Ghoussein, courtesy of the artist.

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Investigating Cultural Civil Society

Klara Kostal’s research describes the cultural policy context through which Arts Cabinet identifies alternative modes of transaction, exchange and collaboration. ‘Rather than revealing a straightforward reasoning behind governance, this research project highlights the complexities of ‘governmentality’ that originate from the context of the EU. Taking this angle, the findings show how the 2016 Structured Dialogue worked as a ‘practical feature of government’’, incorporating two distinct ‘families of governmentality’: democracy and neoliberalism’.

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The Agency of Art. When will we take art seriously?

As part of our ongoing commitment to the MENA region, we are developing an interview series with Art Historians and Curators who chose to devote their career to the promotion of Middle-Eastern and North African art. Our aim is to give their work more visibility and to create links between them as part of a growing network.

Image: The Arab Nude: The Artist as Awakener @Kirsten Scheid

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Living in Exile: Far From Home by Paphonsak La-or

Far From Home connects and compares the two sensations of being away from home, one of the ruling elite of the early twentieth century, another of the commoners who currently struggle to survive. A writing of an unnamed exile individual that appears on the art book Far From Home 2017 encapsulates the difficult situation in which most of them have confronted when fleeing from Thailand.


Image: Paphonsak La-or, Far From Home, exhibition view at ARTIST + RUN in Bangkok, Thailand, 2017 @Thanavi Chotpradit

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Fieldwork as a convivial and undisciplinary practice

In this interview for Arts Cabinet, Bernard explores the uniqueness of an original practice, which goes beyond traditional research frameworks. Based on is personal experience, he provides an overview of situations that may lead researchers to open their practices to art and describes the obstacles they face inside the academy, their traditional space of action.

Image: Azé Kokovina, The clown, Lomé, 2013. @Gaétan Noussouglo

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Egyptian artists know the art of their world well, it's us who don't know it!

As part of our ongoing commitment to the MENA region, we are starting an interview series with Art Historians and Curators who chose to devote their career to the promotion Middle-Eastern and North African art. Our aim is to give their work more visibility and to create links between them as part of a growing network.

Image: Nadia Radwan on a study trip with her students, Pera Museum, Istanbul, June 2016. Courtesy © Nadia Radwan

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Reconsidering Culture in Times of Trouble: A Call for Re-conceptualization of Russian-EU Cultural Relations

Going beyond traditional methods of foreign cultural diplomacy, our definition of cultural relations is characterised by an increased focus on cultural communities and initiatives coming from within civic society, rather than from governmental circles. Only in close interactions between both civic societies can genuine cultural exchange can take place, as this enables all actors to avoid the well-known obstacles, and to lay the foundation for interstate cultural cooperation characterised by mutual understanding and dialogue, rather than by repulsion.

Image: The Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Image ©Erik Vlaeminck, 2017

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EssayErik Vlaeminck
What is art and research?

Art and research is not only a matter of free collaboration between artists and researchers. Since 2008, it’s a political, educational, bureaucratic issue in Europe. On this matter, French debate is extensive. Is it because of the history of art education in this country.

Image: Open doors at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Atelier Alberola ©Ludmilla Barrand, Instagram @psacparis

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