Zentrum Paul Klee Bern Founded by Maurice E. and Martha Müller and the heirs of Paul Klee
Amal Kenawy (*1974), The purple artificial forest, Video, Courtesy Amal Kenawy -
Amal Kenawy (*1974), The purple artificial forest, Video, Courtesy Amal Kenawy
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28.02.2009 - 30.09.2009

Dream and Reality. Contemporary Art from the Near East

The second Orient exhibition turns the visitor’s attention to the art of modern-day orient.

The multi-disciplinary exhibition invites the viewers on a journey through today’s countries of the Middle East whereby tourist clichés, miserabilisms and stigmatising superficialities are bypassed. «Real Fiction» works in vibrant relationship with documentary film material cast a contemporary and timely glance on the area; highly aestheticised and fictitious videos complement the glance in a subjective and poetic way.

Physically present installative works, such as the plan view of Beirut as large carpet cast from caoutchouc by Marwan Rechmaoui, intensify the emotional and sensual radiance. Audio stations by the Bernese ethnomusicologist Thomas Burkhalter and his organisation «Norient» as well as live music performances emphasize this sensuality. 

Video works by Hala Elkoussy and Hatice Güleryüz render partly documentary, partly subjective and poetic portraits of the town of Cairo and Istanbul. The block of flats painted in green, which Ergin Cavusoglu presents in the video production titled «Empire - After Andy Warhol», could also be found in Berne, if there were not the small minaret on the roof, from which the muezzin calls at dusk. Commissioned by the Zentrum Paul Klee, the Turkish artist Halil Altindere well-known from documenta 12 created the work titled «Mirage», and in this synchro-montage he themes the global asset of water with pictures from the driest region in Turkey located in the south east of the country which is to be flood as a consequence of a dam construction. Amal Kenawy puts into action her drawings, which develop more and more into a nightmare, in tense oppressive cartoon films, such as in the work titled «The purple artificial forest». Works by the Atlas Group from Lebanon present fictitious historic events in such a way that they are read as facts. In this exhibition, the works by the Swiss artists, such as San Keller, Chalet 5, Davide Cascio and Michael von Graffenried, who had been to Cairo as artist-in-residence, are also considered art from the Middle East. The exhibition, which takes place not only between «dream and reality», but also plumbs the limits of intimacy and publicity, comprises also everyday objects from the Orient of the 20th century.  And finally, the exhibition architecture opens out into a courtyard, in which ephemeral, «transitory» art is shown, such as performances, concerts or recitals.

trigon-film programme

Cinema is part of the modernist art of the Orient. The selected films from various countries shown in the exhibition itself give an insight into the diversity of the film culture. The cinematic supporting programme compiled by trigon-film also comprises works from traditional narrative cinema and desert ballads to genre film and the reduction of modern age. Social matters are dealt with as well as existential subjects; conflicts are present as well as the search of identity and the cultural roots.

Du-Magazine 793 – In Search of the Orient Paul Klee’s Journey to the Orient and the Culture of the Arab-Persian Region of Today

The February copy of «Du» cultural magazine was set up in co-operation with the Zentrum Paul Klee. Journalistically it complements the current exhibitions on the subject of «Orient» in the Zentrum Paul Klee with a broad view on to the entire field of Arab-Person culture: Basing on Klee’s journey to the Orient the authors start out to look into what is happening in all fields of culture on site today, where breakpoints and common features can be found, and how Swiss and European artists deal with the historic dialogue.