press release

Contemporary Art from the Middle East and North Africa 11.04.2018 - 17.06.2018

artists: Lida Abdul, Abbas Akhavan, Kader Attia, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Ali Cherri, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rokni Haerizadeh, Susan Hefuna, Iman Issa, Gülsün Karamustafa, Hassan Khan, and Ahmed Mater.

But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa is the third and final exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. It features recent work by artists living and working in the titular region and its international diaspora.

Many of the exhibition artists question the ability of objective "truths" to adequately capture the social realities of our world. Utilizing fictional narratives and fantastical imagery, their works contain hidden ideas that challenge stereotypical and overtly politicized perspectives of the region and its history—ideas we might call "conceptual contraband."

Architecture also plays a significant role in both the exhibition's concept and presentation. The artists investigate architecture and the function of monuments as ideological tools of power, evoking colonial histories and the increasingly resonant impact of globalization.

Designed in collaboration with the Milan-based architecture firm AOUMM the installation exposes aspects of Galleria d'Arte Moderna's neoclassical structure, echoing the search for hidden truths that is at the core of this exhibition. Through this intersection with the museum's heritage, But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise initiates a fresh conversation between the past and the present through the art of our time.

— Sara Raza, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa