Lost in Paradise: Du spirituel dans l’art actuel


Five artists from Asia and the Middle East, each with their own cultural, social and religious backgrounds, approach the theme of spirituality in this new exhibition from A&E projects.

November 14th – November 25th 2012
For their third exhibition, A&E projects choses Loft Sévigné in the heart of Paris to present a selection of twenty artworks from five contemporary artists, each addressing the theme of spirituality. A&E Projects Director Arianne Levene describes the curatorial process:
For our most recent exhibition, we have chosen to work with artists who address, in their own unique and personal way, issues surrounding spirituality, religion and the human condition. Upon close examination tensions clearly exist between the artists’ practices. Some have chosen to use religious iconography as a way of expressing deep-rooted emotional responses to the failures of contemporary society; whilst others prefer to explore a spiritual journey and therefore revert to more abstract and symbolic imagery, in a desire to transcend religious beliefs. Each work also creates its own friction between aesthetic sensibilities and harrowing subject matter. The power of the works in the exhibition is amplified through these points of tension.
Reza Aramesh
b. 1970 in Awhaz, Iran. Lives and works in London, United Kingdom.
Aramesh draws inspiration from media coverage of the international conflicts from the 1960s to the present day. No direct signs of war remain in his photography and the characters seem driven out of their initial contexts. Opposition between beauty and brutality allows the artist to unveil the absurdity and the futility of these actions. Aramesh also creates sculptures that portray modern victims as medieval Christian martyrs. The beatific poses of his human figures show the influence of religious 17th Century Spanish sculpture.
Shezad Dawood                                                                                
b. 1974 in London, United Kingdom. Lives and works in London, United Kingdom.
Shezad Dawood’s Pakistani, Indian, Irish and British roots are the origin of his rich and mixed artistic approach. Dawood’s colourful installations made of neons and tribal textiles laid on canvas translate his interest in exoticism, poetry and joy. The Jewels of Aptor comprises a taxidermied bird suspended amongst fluorescent neon hoops. This work refers directly to the 12th Century poem The Conference of the Birds by Farid Al-Din Attar as well as J.G. Ballard’s novel, The Unlimited Dream Company. In these writings the image of the bird is perceived as an allegory of wider philosophical theories of the divine and spiritual.
Idris Kahn
b. 1978 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Lives and works in London, United Kingdom.
Idris Khan uses digital photography to transform and combine existing images and texts. He overlays written scores of well-known symphonies or pages of books – such as the Quran – to create complex, calligraphic and musical compositions. In Paradise Lost, a series of prints mounted on aluminium and based on the epic poem by John Milton, Khan shows a fascination for the creative power of artists tormented by doubt and despair. Khan’s cylindrical sculpture, The Devil’s Wall: God is Great is a reference to Ramy al-Jamarat, the ritual stoning of Satan which takes place on the third day of the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia.
Ariandhitya Pramuhendra
b. 1984 in Semarang, Indonesia. Lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia.
Ariadhitya Pramuhendra’s charcoal drawings on canvas and sculptures are manifestations of his interest in the quest for identity as well as his questioning of the role of the individual in society. As a Christian, Pramuhendra belongs to a religious minority in Indonesia; the country being predominantly Muslim. In See No Evil Pramuhendra has portrayed himself blindfolded and wearing ecclesiastical attire. By representing himself as a blind religious figure, the artist disconnects himself from the public gaze, defining and affirming his own identity.
Michal Rovner
b. 1957 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Lives and works in New York, United States and Israel.
For more than two decades Michal Rovner’s practice has effortlessly incorporated video production, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture and architectural intervention. At first glance Rovner’s work appears heavily political but the artist herself is very clear that she seeks to explore the human condition: ‘my work is not about a political situation, but about the human situation,’ As human experience is on-going rather than fixed, so is Michal Rovner’s work, unresolved and endless.


About A&E Projects
A&E Projects specialises in contemporary art with a particular focus on China, India and Iran. A&E Projects was born from Arianne Levene and Eglantine de Ganay’s mutual wish to unite their individual skills and experience as art advisors and curators and their knowledge of the global contemporary art world. This exhibition is their third collaboration following the highly acclaimed “Made in Iran” exhibition at Asia House (London, 2009) and Rashid Rana’s solo show at the Musée Guimet (Paris, 2010)

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