A round-up of the week’s reviews…
Now the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, has staged a landmark show, ‘Lost Kingdoms’. For the first time, a major loan show of these sculptures – many of them masterpieces, many of them monumental in size – turns the spotlight on seven kingdoms ranging from Burma’s Pyu to Indonesia’s Srivijaya, which was a regional centre for Buddhist learning with key connections to India’s major monasteries including Nalanda, Sarnath and Amaravati.
The sheer statistics of Slipstream are impressive. It is as large as an A330-300 Airbus: 70 metres in length, weighing 77 tonnes; its curvilinear 1,650 square metre aluminium skin is held together with half a million rivets. But as Wilson’s example of the arm in the bucket illustrates, Slipstream is essentially concerned with a subject both simple and elusive: making visible in three dimensions the passage through the air of a fast moving object. It is a huge, highly engineered aluminium model of a hole in space. Or to put it another way, it is a sculpture of movement.
‘Roads of Arabia’ presents new archaeological discoveries from Saudi Arabia. The objects range in date from pre-historic to the present, and include colossal figurative sculptures and funerary stele, intricate metalwork, and elegant calligraphies. Arabia was a crossroads of trade in the ancient world and a sacred centre since the coming of Islam. For these reasons, Arabia gave birth to civilisations and also became a host to diverse peoples and cultural influences. One can trace the lives of these people through these artefacts.
YARAT are of course based in Baku; the city and its people are central to our activities. The concept of the show is to bring the culture of Azerbaijan side by side with those of its neighbours: Iran, Russia, and Georgia. Zaha Hadid’s [Heydar Aliyev] Center is such a striking addition to Baku’s architectural landscape and a fitting location for an exhibition of such scope and broad international appeal.
Are these paintings, or semi-painted installations? Is the focus the invisibility of the paint or the visibility of the canvas? And are they abstract or figurative – portraits, even?