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Indepth Arts News:

"West by East: Curated by Abdelwahab Meddeb"
2005-05-27 until 2005-09-25
Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona
Barcelona, , ES Spain

The Centre de Cultura ContemporÓnia de Barcelona presents the exhibition WEST BY EAST, curated by the Tunisian writer Abdelwahab Meddeb, which will run in Gallery 3 at the CCCB from 26 May to 25 September 2005. The show is a coproduction of the CCCB and the Fundaciˇ Bancaixa de ValŔncia with the support of the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya Catalan regional government. The exhibition will run in Valencia from 15 October 2005 to 15 January 2006.

West by East is an exhibition about how Westerners, Europeans in particular, have been seen, past and present, by the Islamic East. During the preparation of the exhibition, it very soon became evident that historically, Easterners have paid a lot less attention to Europeans than we have to them. While Orientalism is a cultural tradition in the West, it is rare to find the West in creativity in Eastern cultures. For this reason, the CCCB has invited a series of artists and intellectuals from these countries to give their views of the West. The resulting works form a major part of this exhibition and cannot be ignored if we really want to know more about them but also about ourselves.

The layout of the show allows visitors to observe how Islam has been divided in the way in which it sees the West and highlights the different viewpoints and attitudes that have existed side by side throughout history. Conflict, solidarity, interchange, fascinationŚrather than alternating in time, they coincide. And they often reveal a complex love-hate relationship combining fascination and irritation, emulation and rejection, which we try to express in the exhibition. We also aim to highlight many signs of proximity that sometimes go unnoticed, overshadowed by the larger confrontations.

In an attempt to better understand this complex situation, the exhibition presents seven different sequences and a total of 215 works. Each sequence or section of the exhibition confronts views from the past (12th-19th centuries) with those of the present. Miniatures, manuscripts, maps, paintings and photographs illustrate how Islam has seen Europe over the centuries, mirrored by images in other artistic languages that offer a contemporary key to the question.

The contemporary voices are represented firstly in the work of nine visual artists (Marjane Satrapi, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Mohamed el Baz, Shadi Ghadirian, Jellel Gasteli, Bouchra Khalili, Hassan Musa, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Touhami Ennadre) who are invited to do what traditionally they never have: present their views of the West. Then five writers have recorded their testimonies: Houda BarakÔt, Nilufer G÷lŰ, Sorour Kasma´, Daryush Shayegan and Salah StÚtiÚ. The resulting interviews will be screened in the galleries and, together with the works of the above-mentioned artists, they constitute brand-new material to throw light on the body of reflection proposed by the CCCB.

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