Asia Art Archive is invited to respond to 'The Time is Out of Joint', a project curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh at the Sharjah Art Foundation around 'the first Arab Artist Biennial' in Baghdad (1974), 'China Avant-garde Exhibition' in Beijing (1989), and the future Jogja Equator Conference in 2022. It is comprised of an exhibition, a reading room with discursive programmes, and a two-day conference.


AAA's Response: An Invitation to Trespass

If time is a 'fluid place', and place 'frozen time', then access to archives and the content they contain—documents and documentation—may allow one to trespass both. Archival materials can become navigational tools that allow us to find our bearings in the trajectories of time and space. Images pertaining to past events can fuel multiple imaginings, and open up possibilities of reframing the past.
The circulation of such materials is not without friction. Obstructions of access to relevant content can take many forms—from constraints of copyright to lack of language skills, to curiosity left un-kindled. 
AAA’s collaboration with 'The Time is Out of Joint' is a modest exercise in 'kindling' such a curiosity through a digital response in two parts. The first is a selection of documentation from various AAA digital archiving projects that offer multiple entry points into the iconic exhibition 'China/Avant-garde'. The second stems from a collaborative translation project undertaken with Indonesia Visual Art Archive (IVAA), which translates, for the first time, key art writing between 1985 and 1995 from Bahasa Indonesia into English. In addition to the digital response, a selection of text and archival material on 'China/Avant-Garde' derived from AAA research is part of the exhibition's publication.
The subjects of this selected material correspond directly to two of the three pillars of 'The Time is Out of Joint' and provide access to information and perspectives from which the exhibition draws. Yet this response aspires to push further—most pointedly to the third pillar, the First Arab Art Biennale. Missing from our efforts, but more broadly addressed to contribute to, and elicit responses towards, a collective inquiry into how art as a form of knowledge can be meaningfully shared and mediated.


1989 China/Avant-Garde Exhibition 中國現代藝術展 (Beijing)




 'China/Avant-Garde Exhibition' — Invitation, 1989. Courtesy: Lu Peng.

Performance at 'Binal Eksperimental', Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 28 July 1992 - 5 August 1992.
Courtesy: Indonesia Visual Art Archive (IVAA).


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