A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things launches Staging Histories, a new research and commissioning platform for performance art. Through archival research and new commissions, Staging Histories traces seminal moments of performance mapping shared histories and contemporary global concerns. The first stage of the project explores performance art from and in relation to the Arab world.
The exhibition presents a constellation of key performative works, photographs, video documentation and archival materials from the last three decades. The thematic connections cross the Arab world but relate to global politics, economics and cultural shifts. The selected artworks can therefore be understood as a preface, consequence or echo of major developments during this period.
A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things runs in tandem with Echoes & Reverberations at the Hayward Gallery Project Space, a group exhibition that also emerged from Staging Histories.
A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things is curated by Aaron Cezar with contributions from Ala’ Younis and Barrak Alzaid (Staging Histories curatorial fellows) and Jane Scarth (Delfina Foundation).
Co-commissioned by Delfina Foundation and Shubbak - A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture (11-26 July). Special thanks to the British Council, Video Data Bank, and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde.
An online catalogue has been produced in collaboration with Ibraaz Platform 009, which addresses the genealogies of performance art in North Africa and the Middle East. Contributors include Anthony Downey, Aaron Cezar, Ala Younis, Sulayman Bassam and Barrak Alzaid. Visit www.ibraaz.org to view the catalogue from 2 July.
With support raised through Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative on Kickstarter.