TWO PROJECTS: NINAR ESBER AND CATHERINE PONCIN AT THE DARAT AL FUNUN IN AMMAN, JORDAN
Last month I visited India to work on a new project in Nagaur and on my way back to New York, I stopped for a few days in Amman, Jordan and visited an alternative art space called Darat al Funun – a series of houses and lovely gardens and courtyards on a side of a hill – quite an unusual but effectively intimate setting to see provocative contemporary art from the Middle East. In a large show called “Sentences on the banks and other activities” curated by Abdellah Karroum, I came across two photo-based projects that I really liked.
The first was a simple photograph, not very large – probably 16 by 20 inches – of what appeared like two very large ladders with lights on them propped up on the side of a low, workshop-like building. The ladders rested on the ground but seemed to not lead anywhere but simply point up to the sky. Not functional. I liked the image but could not really figure out what it was about. The mood was hushed, night or early morning sky, and I liked that the lighting on each of the ladders was different and that these were huge ladders obviously not store-bought. Familiar object rendered fresh and magical, and a reminder that a beautiful image can be built with quite simple means, and that a single photograph can be alluring and powerful without the benefit of a series or large size. The artist Ninar Esber is Lebanese-born and Paris-based and works with video, performance, installation.
Check out her work at: http://www.ninaresber.com/spip.php?article46
The second project was in a way the opposite of Ninar Esber’s single, surreal photograph – a series of large collaged photographs by Catherine Poncin titled “Vertiges.” She combines sharp color photographs of the Rhummel gorge in Algeria with black and white, archival images – negatives printed as positives – of women in hijab. The images are diptychs or tryptichs within a single frame – not layered – yet they are quite beautiful and unsettling.
To see the complete project, please see: http://www.fillesducalvaire.com/index.php?SITE=1&CURRLANG=2&CONT=exhib&EXHIB=20