Lebanese artist Nadim Karam will present a new large-scale kinetic sculpture entitled Politics of Dialogue: The Merry-Go-Round as part of the group exhibition “Personal Structures” hosted by the European Cultural Centre (ECC) in the context of the Biennale Arte in Venice from 11 May to 24 November 2019 .
Politics of Dialogue tackles the underlying paradox of ineffective communication in an era marked by hyperconnectivity. In a world reigned by information networks, Karam reflects on the challenge of connecting through meaningful dialogue. At a time when geo-political institutions around the world, from the European Union to the Arab League, are suffering repeated crises of communication, Karam’s sculpture highlights the cleavage in dialogue between the political and public spheres.
Situated on the waterfront in the Marinaressa Gardens, the installation consists of seven elongated figures assembled in a circle and mounted on a rotating platform. Facing each other, the gold-painted figures morph into megaphone-like forms and seem to be locked into an intense dialogue. But as the platform turns to the audible tune of a carousel and the figures move up and down, they each take a turn to lead a discussion that only goes round and round.
Alluding to the prevalent notion of an echo chamber, Karam’s sculpture follows the artist’s long tradition of creating public art in response to moments of political and social crisis in cities as diverse as Beirut, Prague and Melbourne. From his early works on paper in the Age of Anxiety to his more recent Shout and Silence series of sculptures, Karam extracts playful absurdity from adversity, pointing to the multilayered complexities of our societies.
Karam invites viewers to observe Politics of Dialogue like a scene from a contemporary power game. sive figures are isolated and dislocated from their surroundings,
suggesting the rupture between political dialogue and the public arena. Represented through an absurdist lens, the scene not only underlines the frugality of public and political will, but also accentuates the inflated use of the term “dialogue” which has transformed it into a commodity. Karam consequently interrogates the meaning of dialogue and its driving force.