x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

See art differently at Sharjah exhibition I Look to You and I See Nothing

I Look to To You and I See Nothing, organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation, is a new display by experiential artists who create contemplative environments through sound and visual installations.

I Look to To You and I See Nothing features Mathieu Briand's project where seven audience memebers wear helmets with cameras and exchange visual perspectives with each other. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation
I Look to To You and I See Nothing features Mathieu Briand's project where seven audience memebers wear helmets with cameras and exchange visual perspectives with each other. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation

I Look to You and I See Nothing, organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation, is a new display by experiential artists who create contemplative environments through sound and visual installations.

The hallucinatory effect

The exhibition, which is co-organised by the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Tasmania, Australia, introduces the stroboscopic effect, an attempt to create illusions, patterns and colours through combinations of rapid motion and light. The installation allows viewers to interact with the three-dimensional space and expands the boundaries of their ­perception.

“The exhibition is unique because it leads viewers to introspect and construct images,” says Olivier Varenne, an international art buyer and a co-curator of the ­exhibition.

“The way this came about was when I saw an installation that uses a mist of clouds to create an experience for the viewer and began thinking of my mother, who is visually impaired.

“I began searching for these artists who are working with the concept of the brain creating images when eyes are closed. They develop immersive room where you see shades and colours in different ways.”

The experiential artists

The Chicago-based Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger’s mind-boggling multisensory installation features in the exhibition. The creation, ZEE, presents the concept of tabula rasa, or clean slate, to make visitors perceive through experience. The artist fills a room with dense fog, flickering lights and minimum sound to disorient and create kaleidoscopic images.

“When lights go on and off very fast it creates ‘after images’, ones that you cannot see with the normal eyes,” says Varenne. “The idea is to create shapes that are unique.”

As part of the Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor’s exhibit Imagined Monochrome, people are asked to close their eyes and explore colours through a real-time ­massage.

Varenne says the French artist Sophie Calle’s work tries to understand how the blind see. “She has created her display by asking the blind what their memories are and what they imagine beauty to be,” he says.

In Mathieu Briand’s audio-visual project, seven audience members wear helmets with cameras and exchange visual perspectives with each other. “They can see what the other six are viewing. As if you are looking through the eyes of someone else,” explains Varenne.

Shezad Dawood presents the New Dream Machine, a sculpture that applies immersive kinetic light and is designed to emit hypnotic light waves towards the audience.

The Italian sculptor and conceptual artist Giuseppe Penone is exhibiting Rovesciare I propri occhi (To Reverse One’s Eyes), which shows him wearing mirrored contact lenses, rendering him blind and offering the viewer his sight instead.

Music meets technology

The classical musician Gregorio Zanon made a transition to experimental music, fusing his passion and technological know-how in Music in the Room. “The main idea is to make music that is a composition, but never the same for any two people,” says Zanon, who has created a new installation for the exhibition in Sharjah.

The interactive project involves 10 iPads and a set of piano samples, which the viewers become a part of as they move around.

“New technology can allow you to make real-time music that isn’t static. This is very exciting,” says Zanon.

“Every iPad does something random and the way music is made in the process is very special. It is like a cloud of insects that move randomly. You cannot understand it unless they are put together. The same applies here. Because randomness has limits, it forms a cloud of music which evolves.”

I Look to You and I See Nothing runs until February 16. Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Al Mureijah, Sharjah Heritage Area. Visit www.sharjahart.org for the full schedule

aahmed@thenational.ae