The Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe or IMA) is paying tribute to the collection of modern and contemporary Arab art in the fondation Barjeel (the Barjeel Foundation). This incredibly rich collection pays tribute to the creative dynamism of the Arab artistic scene, from Baya to Kader Attia.
The work of leading artists such as Adel Abdessemed, Hassan Sharif, Mohammed Cherkaoui, Marwan Kassab Bachi, Kader Attia, Rachid Koraichi, and Etel Adnan will be displayed alongside the works of less well known figures.
Complied in 2010, the collection of Sultan Al Qassemi includes the works by leading figures of modern and contemporary Arab art. Managed by the Barjeel Foundation, a private foundation located in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, the collection will be presented for the first time in France in the Arab World Institute. With a selection of ninety masterpieces, the Barjeel Collection retraces the history of Arab art since the second half of the twentieth century. Installations, photographs, paintings, and figurative and abstract works … the artists have explored every form of expression.
The first room contains the works of the leading artists in the collection displayed using traditional museum scenography. The exhibited works attest to the experiments conducted since the beginning of the twentieth century in the fields of portraiture and abstraction. Moreover, the interaction between the works highlights formal and narrative connections, while reflecting cultural specificities, contradictions, and diverse practices.
Visitors will then enter an area evoking a museum’s reserve collection, in which other pieces are exhibited, like objects presented for the purposes of scientific study. This gives the visitors a chance to see the works up close: in an intimate setting, visitors can view every detail and the pictorial surfaces of the paintings. An original approach that reflects the collector’s methodology, based on experimentation and knowledge: the aim is to offer visitors beautiful objects that promote reflection, and which can be used for research and provide the keys to understanding history.
The exhibition visit ends with a third section: an insight into the private areas of the collector Sultan Al Qassemi, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, with a presentation of a selection of documents, works, photographs, notes and letters.
Based in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, the private Barjeel Foundation is responsible for managing, preserving, and exhibiting Sultan Al Qassemi’s private collection. Through the presentation of this major collection to the general public, the Barjeel Foundation is contributing to the development and promotion of the Arab artistic scene in the world. The foundation’s publication policy and practice of holding exhibitions abroad attest to its desire to promote the Arab artistic heritage and contemporary art.
Philippe Van Cauteren et Karim Sultan