Plot for a Biennial

Sharjah Art Foundation

March 14, 2010

Plot for a Biennial

16 March – 16 May

The Sharjah Art Foundation announces the appointment of Suzanne Cotter and Rasha Salti as joint curators of the 10th edition of the Sharjah Biennial.

Plot for a Biennial is the title for the 10th Sharjah Biennial curated by Suzanne Cotter and Rasha Salti. Opening on March 16, 2011, the Biennial will present new and specially commissioned works by contemporary artists, filmmakers, writers and performers from across the region and internationally. Developing on the geographic reach and the focus on new production of previous Biennials, Plot for a Biennial merges what have traditionally been parallel formats of exhibition, film and performance into a multivalent sequence of encounters in sites across the Sharjah Cultural Quarter. In its visual, spatial and temporal dimensions, Plot for a Biennial attempts to reflect the hybrid nature of contemporary artistic practice, and the singularity of artistic positions as part of a set of shared concerns and consequences.

Curatorial Statement: Plot for a Biennial will consider the production of art as subversive act; the location of the artist within a web of etymological tracings that intersect at the notion of treason, that shares Latin roots with trade and translation, activities central to the political economy, history and culture of Sharjah; and the city as a space of singularities and encounter form a matrix through which the Biennial’s storyline unfolds.

Tailored to the idea of a treatment for film, replete with a plot and characters, it is conceived according to a constellation of keywords or motifs: Treason, Necessity, Insurrection, Affiliation, Corruption, Devotion, Disclosure, Translation, which serve to frame explorations in subject matter and form. The assertion of individual subjectivity within the realms of culture, religion and statehood, the aesthetics of art as seduction and formal dissidence, and the production of art and its communicability as both dubious and potentially transformative are central themes. Within this lexical framework, artists, filmmakers, performers and writers constitute a cast of players that include The Traitor, The Traducer, The Collaborator and The Experientialist.

Proposing the Biennial as a script to be followed and improvised allows for a rethinking of conventions of the showcase, use of spaces, modes of display, and the rhythms of the city, inviting interaction from visitors and inhabitants of Sharjah. In borrowing the structure of a film narrative, the Biennial will function as a series of intersecting chapters, or reels, to be broken and reconstituted by the individual visitor at different moments and over the course of its unravelling.

Contact Information:
Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah, UAE

For local press and general enquiries: Farah Atoui, Head of Communications, Sharjah Art Foundation +971 6 568 5050,

For international press enquiries: Maria Marques, Brunswick Arts, +44 20 79 36 12 85,


Suzanne Cotter was recently appointed by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation as Curator of Exhibitions, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project. Cotter has held curatorial positions at the Whitechapel Gallery and Hayward Gallery, London and was Senior Curator and Deputy Director of Modern Art Oxford (2002-2009). An editor of numerous catalogues and artist monographs and a contributor to art publications including Frieze, Parkett, and Artforum, she was Jury member for the Turner Prize 2008, and a recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre dans les Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in 2005.

Rasha Salti is an independent curator and freelance writer, working and living in Beirut. She has collaborated on a book entitled Beirut Bereft, The Architecture of the Forsaken and Map of the Derelict and has co-edited the publication I Would Have Smiled; A Tribute to Myrtle Winter Chaumeny. She was artistic director for the New York based biennial film festival CinemaEast (2005-7) and curated a season of Syrian cinema in 2006. Salti is also creative director of the New York based non-profit ArteEast.

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