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'After the Mediterranean' now open in Hauser & Wirth Menorca

Following a residency in Menorca, the seven artists in the group exhibition, curated by Oriol Fontdevila, address areas of friction and introduce stories that testify to the human capacity to tackle the region's challenges.

After the Mediterranean’ is an exhibition curated by curator, writer and art researcher Oriol Fontdevila, which brings together seven artists whose work addresses the social and ecological challenges affecting the region: Erola Arcalís, Adjoa Armah, Laia Estruch, artist collective Huniti Goldox, Omar Mismar, Sara Ouhaddou and Abi Shehu. Oriol Fontdevila (b. 1978 Manresa, Spain) is a curator, writer and art researcher. He was curator of Catalonia’s representation in the 59th Venice Biennale 2022, organised under the aegis of the Institut Ramon Llull.

Exhibition in Hauser & Wirth Menorca. All images courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

After the Mediterranean’ is on view until 29 October and an exhibition by Christina Quarles will open on 17 June.

What will become of the Mediterranean in the next geological epoch? What will the hundreds of migrants who venture across this sea every day find beyond it? What representations will replace the idea of a bucolic sea?’ – Oriol Fontdevila

The exhibition brings together a group of artists, many of whom originate from, work within or in relation to territories bordering the Mediterranean. This includes among others Spanish, Albanian, French Moroccan and Lebanese artists. They present existing and new works, the latter created through a residency programme taking place in Menorca over the winter often in collaboration with local makers such as ceramicists and weavers. A public programme runs alongside the exhibition, engaging learning institutions, local organisations and communities, as well as the general public.

‘After the Mediterranean’ conjures a diverse series of futures to address ideas around the human and ecological crises that currently impact the region. The exhibition questions, on the one hand, the idea of the Mediterranean as it has been—and continues to be—articulated: as a gentle, sunny sea, as an idyllic region with an equally tranquil way of life, as a place where cultures could coexist, trade and move around in harmony – in line with the tradition of critical thinking relying upon the work of historian Fernand Braudel.

‘Through their practice, the artists in the exhibition confront this legacy with the problems that have arisen from the current climate emergency, from post-colonialism and the Arab Spring, from successive migrations and the policies that prevent free movement across this sea’, Oriol Fontdevila has commented.

At the same time, ‘After the Mediterranean’ introduces new thoughts and stories that testify to the human capacity to tackle the region’s challenges. Hauser & Wirth Menorca is closed from 29 May until 16 June due to installation. Oriol Fontdevila (b. 1978 Manresa, Spain) is a curator, writer and art researcher. He was curator of Catalonia’s representation in the 59th ​ Venice Biennale 2022, organised under the aegis of the Institut Ramon Llull. He has curated exhibitions at Casal Solleric, Palma; Centre d’Art Fabra i Coats, Barcelona; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; and Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad. Fontdevila was a member of the curatorial team of the European project ‘Performing the Museum’; and part of Sala d’Art Jove’s management team. He has been a guest professor at various master’s degrees and study programs and he taught on EINA’s Degree in Design and on UOC’s Degree in Fine Arts. Additionally, he published a book of essays titled ‘El arte de la mediación’ (Consonni, 2018).

About the artists

Erola Arcalís (b. 1986 Maó, Spain; lives and works in London, UK) is an artist whose work combines images of abstract landscapes and sculptural still life to create fictions around individual and collective memories, re-told in ways beyond a linear temporal narrative. Drawing on mythology and poetry, her practice navigates staged photographs and the chance encounter, historical research and personal experience. ​ Arcalís has exhibited works at Barbara Weil Foundation, Mallorca; Copperfield, London; V&A, London; Unseen, Amsterdam; Centro Cultural Galileo, Madrid; and Peckham 24, London. Her work was also shortlisted for the Barbara Weil Prize (2022); the discovery award of Photo España, Madrid (2019); and is part of the European photography organisation Futures. Adjoa Armah (b. 1988 Accra, Ghana) is an artist, writer and educator concerned with the entanglements between narrative, descriptive sciences, the archive, pedagogy, Black ontology and spatial consciousness. Armah is the founder of saman, an archive of Ghanian photographic negatives, through which she experiments with research, publishing and models of institution building grounded in Akan temporalities and West African technologies of social and historical mediation. ​ Armah has had solo exhibitions at Auto Italia, London, and fluent, Santander. She has been published widely, in titles / publications including Afterall, e-flux, Frieze, A Magazine Curated by, Apartamento, Vogue, and TSA Art Magazine. She has taught at institutions including Tate, London; Goldsmiths, London; Central Saint Martins, London; University of Westminster, London; Royal College of Art, London; and HEAD, Geneva University of Art and Design. Laia Estruch (b. 1981 Barcelona, Spain) is an artist whose work centres around the voice and the body, using both performance and sculpture. Her projects analyse the emotional possibilities of the a cappella voice and the non-dramatised body, opening a space for reflection on the performative nature of language, sound recording and oral archives. ​ Estruch has presented performances and works at MACBA, Barcelona; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Fundació Joan Brossa, Barcelona; La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary - TBA21, Córdoba; Fundación Sandretto, Madrid; Galería Ehrhardt-Flórez, Madrid; Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, León; Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao. Huniti Goldox is an artist collective consisting of Areej Huniti (b. 1989, Jordan) & Eliza Goldox (b. 1985, GDR), whose work is shaped by contextual examinations of geopolitical realities, marginalized oral histories and mythologies. In their research, they are interested in how political systems, transitions and violence affect bodies of water and landscapes. Their work has been exhibited and screened at Darat Al Funun, Amman; The MMAG Foundation & The Jordan National Gallery, Amman; Goethe Institute, Amman; SomoS Art House, Berlin; School Of Waters / Biennale Mediterranea, San Marino; Sheffield Film Festival, Sheffield; D21 Kunstraum, Leipzig; TBA Academy / Ocean Uni, Venice; Tirana Art Lab, Tirana; and Manifesta 14, Kosovo. Omar Mismar (b.1986 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon; based in Beirut, Lebanon) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work probes the entanglement of art and politics, and the aesthetics of disaster. Using material interventions, formal deliberations and translation strategies, Mismar explores conflict and its everyday representations. Mismar has participated in exhibitions at the San José Museum of Art, San José CA; Tabakalera, San Sebastián; MoMA, New York NY; Home Works 8, Beirut; VideoBrasil, São Paulo; Oakland Museum, Oakland CA; Leslie Lohman Museum, New York NY; Hamburg Phototriennale; and Beirut Art Center. Mismar has taught at California College of the Arts, San Francisco CA; the University of San Francisco, San Francisco CA; Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts, Beirut; and the American University of Beirut. He is also the art editor of Beirut’s literary and art journal, Rusted Radishes. Sara Ouhaddou (p.1986 Draguignan, France) is a French artist born into a traditional Moroccan family. This dual culture informs her practice as a continuous dialogue. Ouhaddou strikes a balance between traditional Moroccan art forms and the conventions of contemporary art, aiming to reframe forgotten cultural realities. Ouhaddou has participated in the exhibition ‘Moroccan Trilogy,’ Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2021); ‘Global Resistance,’ Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Manifesta 13, Marseille (2020); ‘Our World is Burning,’ Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2020); Islamic Arts Festival, Sharjah (2017 – 2018); ‘Craft becomes Modern,’ Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Germany (2017); and Marrakech Biennale, Morocco, (2016). She is represented by Polaris gallery, Paris. Abi Shehu (b.1993 Lezha, Albania) is a multi-disciplinary visual artist, whose artistic research can be described as an archaeology of unconsciousness. Through a combination of visual and media art, from installation to sound art, she creates landscapes that embody the unrepresentable and unknowable dimensions of people, societies, places and historical events. Shehu´s work has been exhibited at Manifesta 14, Pristina; Zeta Gallery, Tirana; ‘In Waves,’ with Women in Covid, various locations; Bazament Art Space, Tirana; Galeria e Bregdetit, Vlora; EMOP, Berlin; Kino Rinia, Pristina; CLB, Berlin; and ArtHouse & Marubi Museum, Shkodra.

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