The production of ideas, concepts and
artistic forms is an endless negotiation and
a continuous dialogue. Like an evolving
reality, artistic practices are constantly transforming, refusing to stand still and become permanent. In a fast-shaping landscape of events, which characterises
the contemporary moment in Saudi Arabia, the 2018 edition of 21,39 investigates the multifaceted practices that emerge in this continuously active domain.
Unfolding in three venues, specifically selected for their historical gravitas, Refusing to Be Still activates the current moment in time, looking simultaneously
at the historical, the more recent past and
at the future.
The exhibition seeks to explore the different layers and multiple narratives that define creativity in Saudi Arabia. It addresses cultural complexity alongside historical and current narratives. In the rapidly connected contemporary world, Refusing to Be Still aims to advance international dialogue between locations and artistic practices.
The artworks presented in the exhibition explore the old and the new, the permanent and the temporary, as well as the emotional, aesthetic and experiential layers of creativity. A desire to present the uncompromising and fascinating energies, forces and power of the Saudi context has been the defining factor in shaping the story the exhibition tells, a story devoted to the inevitability of continuous transformation.
Vassilis Oikonomopoulos is a London-based curator specialising in modern and contemporary art. He is currently Assistant Curator for International Art Collections at Tate Modern, where he works for Tate’s Middle East and North Africa Acquisitions Committee. At Tate, he has co-curated and organised a number of exhibitions, such as the retrospective exhibition Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture, and the 2016 Hyundai Commission Anywhen, with French artist Philippe Parreno in the Turbine Hall. Prior to joining the Tate, Oikonomopoulos had held curatorial positions in galleries and organisations internationally.