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Visual arts. Contextualizing our perspectives

General Introduction
Alain Messaoudi, Annabelle Boissier, Fanny Gillet et Perin Emel Yavuz
p. vol 142

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Kaché sous la pluie. 2016 Acrylic, collage, manufactured butterflies, plywood, 200 x 100 cm.

@Nadia Jelassi

Note : Nadia Jelassi, born in Tunis in 1958, studied art at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis, where she teaches today, with a specialty in engraving. However, her work shows that she refuses to be confined within categories or a specific style. Her creation protocol is based on projects that develop over three or four years. During this research period, she experiments with the appropriate artist’s means (painting, photography, collage, 3D-photo-montage...) to answer a question raised by Tunisian society, by focusing more specifically on power representations.

Therefore Karopolis, her latest exhibition held at the A. Gorgi Gallery (Sidi Bou Saïd), in January 2017, was the result of a research cycle on official photographs of political figures, questioning the liberalization process that characterized the post-revolutionary period. After observing the stereotypical way in which these personalities are staged in the images they post on social networks, Nadia Jelassi chose to draw her inspiration from this corpus of images. Of the individuals, she kept only the clothes and postures, recognizable by all. She also retained the photographic mode common to these media images showing the public figures in front of decorative backgrounds with local motifs used as an identity marker. She restored the reductionism of political visual communication within a subtle blend, where the traditions of ceramics and miniature interweave with the codes of the media image.

The cover of this issue shows the details of a piece entitled Kaché sous la pluie, which reflects the vocabulary established for Karopolis. The artist took one of the official images of the reception at the Elysée Palace of the Tunisian "Quartet", the association of four organizations that contributed to the dialogue between the political parties to ensure the transition of the regime, honored with the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2015. Houcine Abassi, a representative of UGTT workers' union organization, and Wided Bouchamaoui, a representative of UTICA employers' association are seen at the center, framed by two Elysian butlers holding large umbrellas over their heads. Consistent with one of the operating modes of the series, the two personalities blend into the background representing a ceramic motif as if they were reduced inside it, while the two butlers, painted on wooden silhouettes glued on the scene, stand out materially and visually as if to emphasize the opening of the media event as well as its factitious nature.

A need for decompartmentalization

  • 1 As a benchmark of the impact of Edward Said's critique of the visual arts, we would like to mention (...)
  • 2 On the Visual Studies, see Dubuisson and Raux 2015 and Decobecq, 2017.
  • 3 In the Maghreb, they are more frequently referred to as postcolonial studies.
  • 4 It made it possible for the Maghreb to authorize a movement of emancipation from the frameworks est (...)

1What perspective should we bring to bear on the production of visual arts as it has developed for more than a century ? We can no longer hold the same view as we did in the 1950’s. With the process of decolonization came a profound change, and the awareness of an absolute necessity to depart from an Orientalist vision of the artistic productions of a space long placed more or less directly under the domination of foreign powers, and aspiring to break away from it1. What could be an alternative to this inadequate reading, developed for other contexts and other objects ? With a view to emancipation, Visual Studies, whose development is linked to that of postcolonial studies, have included the study of artistic productions in the broader context of visual culture.2. Under this name or another3, this conception met with a favorable echo from Morocco to Iran, where it helped new generations of artists challenge the academic model and the plastic arts model, built around definitions inherited from Europe4, which models were dominant in art schools and exhibition spaces as the basis of the official recognition system. The affirmation of Visual Studies has made it possible for artists wishing to explore new media to assert their legitimacy, together with their insertion in the context of contemporary art standing out from modern art.

2The contributions to this issue address the need of Visual Studies to include the analysis of works of art in the field of social sciences and to combine several disciplinary approaches in order to better understand their meaning (Gruber and Haugbolle, 2013). They intend to reposition the works in the context of visual cultures, societies, political structures without which they would not have taken shape. This issue will reveal several examples. By merging the methods of social history and geography, Ilker Birkan and Jérémie Molho were able to identify the conventions that govern the art world in Istanbul and restore the particular historicity of an art scene recently identified as such internationally. In order to understand the blurred boundaries between documentary cinema and contemporary art in the Maghreb, Marie Pierre-Bouthier has, for her part, analyzed the constraints of professional spaces, the political aspirations of authors, and the works that express this ambition to go beyond.

3We must not lose sight of the works themselves, their grammar, their capacity for expression, and the tools of analysis that are traditionally those of the history of art and aesthetics. It may actually be possible to turn into assets the difficulties posed by the limited number to date of reference works on modern and contemporary art in this region of the world, and the difficult access to sources : they impose on specialists from different horizons to work together and develop new methodologies. And, for the most recent periods in particular, these constraints invite us to rely on the knowledge of the actors of the art world, such as artists, gallery owners, art critics, curators, between whom borders are rather permeable. The work of Catherine Cornet on the Egyptian Academy in Rome, and that of Thomas Richard on the Jordan Gallery of Fine Arts are not only based on written documentation, but also on interviews with artists, administrative agents or reception staff. Only as a result of meetings with artists was Anahi Alviso able to access a local historiography based on the principle of generations in Yemen, absent from public libraries and bibliographies. More generally, critics and curators who are in direct contact with artists provide not only valuable sources for the historian, but also heuristic keys to reading. That is why it seemed important to us to include in this issue to a mode of expression different from that of the social sciences, through the voice of Morad Montazami celebrating the art of Laatiris.

  • 5 For a historical and critical analysis of Muslim art and Arabic art as they prevailed at the end of (...)
  • 6 Hurufiyya, which could be translated as "letterism" – in spite of a likelihood of confusion with th (...)
  • 7 This criticism may be addressed to syntheses by Wijdan Ali, Contemporary Islamic Art, Gainesville, (...)
  • 8 Monia Abdallah has analyzed the contemporary issues of the concept of Islamic art in her thesis and (...)
  • 9 It is the space that covers AMCA (The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World (...)
  • 10 The confusions that are often made between the Turkish, Iranian and Arab worlds, including in prest (...)
  • 11 For a comparative analysis of the historiography of modern art in Algeria and Tunisia, see Annabell (...)
  • 12 Winegar, 2006 ; Kane, 2013. We can also point out some recently supported theses (Seggerman, 2014, (...)

4We did not wish to impose a strict limit on space, by avoiding the use of the Orient, the Muslim world, or the Arab world categories, and the notions of Islamic or Arab art associated with them, which reduce the significance of the works and do not take into account the movements specific to the worlds of modern and contemporary art5. While it cannot be ignored that certain modern and contemporary artists have explicitly associated their works with an Arab or Islamic tradition, by joining the current of the hurufiyya6 or by connecting their art to Sufi spirituality, this paper does not address these issues directly. They do, however, remain relevant, insofar as these categories continue to be used without being effectively challenged7, in spite of Silvia Naef's historical analysis of the affirmation of Arab modernity based on Egyptian, Lebanese and Iraqi sources (Naef, 1996), or the works of Monia Abdallah on the uses of the concept of Islamic contemporary art8. Instead we simply observed that, from the Atlantic to Iran, there is indeed a territory which, in spite of its economic, political and cultural diversity, seems to constitute an area of activity for the professionals of the art world, a specialty area for research9, and a space where, in the context of a world of internationalized art, the stakes of contemporary art seem closely related10. Sources, however, are largely part of national frameworks, thus researchers are usually confronted with difficulties (the archives of public institutions are usually stored by the production organizations, without being classified or transferred to the national archives, therefore they are inaccessible) that interfere with transversal study projects. Much of the frame of reference for historiography is also provided by the national scale, including works that are not produced in national languages, but in English or French, whether published in the studied space or outside of it. This can be explained by material constraints, but it may also be due to the challenge of promoting the visual arts for the newly independent states11. What is true for Turkey and Iran (Shaw, 2011, Aymes, Gourisse and Massicard, 2013, Gumpert and Balaghi, 2002, Scheiwiller, 2014, Unedited history, 2014, Brill, Jäger, and Montua, 2017). is also true for the different states of the Arab world, be it Egypt (Winegar, 2006 ; Kane, 201312), Lebanon (Howling, 2005 ; Scheid, 2005), Tunisia (Gerschultz, 2012 ; Nakhli, 2013), Algeria (Schaub, 2015) and Morocco (Irbouh, 2005, Becker, 2006, Tocheva, 2011), which are undoubtedly the countries that have generated the most work written in European languages. The contributions in this issue do not escape this framework. Despite a desire to open up national borders, only a few contributions crossed them explicitly. However, we tried to avoid qualifying artists and actors in the art world according to their national or local origin, so as not to impose a label that would reduce the scope of their works to a limited horizon. Indeed, local appropriation is an issue for the actors of the art world. Depending on the effects of fashion, or the evolution of a career, it may be advantageous or not for an artist to draw attention to a local or national connection, which may or may not promote the recognition of his work. Painter Fathi Hassan’s reporting to Catherine Cornet, that he managed to escape a degrading connection to Nubia following a stay in Rome consecrating him as an "Egyptian artist", is proof in his own way.

Defining works within their social, cultural and political context

  • 13 On this subject, see Keshmirshekan, 2015. The projects on the international artistic circulations d (...)
  • 14 Postcolonial approaches often suffer from a theoretical approach based on discourse analysis withou (...)

5The purpose of this issue is to provide some insights into the construction of knowledge and the study of visual productions in their particular context. It aims to identify the difficulties encountered by researchers, in order to go beyond a simple definition of the artistic productions of a wider Middle East encompassing the Maghreb as part of a general process of globalization.13. It is indeed essential to define artistic productions within the complexity of their historicity and to restore situations that are not limited to a dual, unequal relationship between imperial centers and dominated peripheries14. The analysis of discourses and representations, as well as that of the institutions that structure local cultural landscapes, show that artists do not have the sole purpose of being internationally recognized.

  • 15 For an analysis of the mobilizations in the Arab-Muslim area before and since the "Arab Spring", se (...)
  • 16 See Boissier, 2014, Alviso-Marino, 2013, Boëx, 2012, Findlay, 2012, Rogers, 2012 and Gillet, to be (...)

6Thus, the introduction of their work into a local artistic dynamic, sometimes explicitly claimed, is noticeable under the authoritarian regimes where art has been invested with an emancipatory force - as we have seen with the popular Arab Spring mobilizations in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen15, or in occupation situations, as in the Palestinian Territories. The engagement of the artists remains an object little studied, although the Arab springs caused a reactivation of pre-existing trends among the artists. This political reinvestment has attracted new interest in the academic world16. The critical analysis of a crisis situation in the field can help understand the impact of the mobilizations on the plastic creation, and the ethical stakes related to them, without teleology (Bensa and Fassin, 2002). Based on an analysis of the revolutionary moments that affected the Arab world in 2011, it is possible to show how a social paradigm of art is defined through the complexity of the politicization registers of artists and to measure the interest aroused by their works on the international art market.

7Contextualizing artistic production also means placing it in a context of a political and social imagery that is far from being static. The evolutions in the art world identified in the contributions of this issue echo more general trends of State withdrawal and reconfiguration of political commitment. While in the 1960s and 1980s, artists had drawn on the nationalist theme by resorting to symbols of anti-imperialist resistance, the production of the 1990 and 2000’s distanced itself from the partisan mobilization to affirm a personal commitment that is no longer explicitly political in the militant sense of the word. In this context, the desire to integrate the arts into the ideological struggle and into the transformation of social relations has an effect on the theoretical conception and the configuration of artistic circulations between politically and culturally brother countries. Marion Slitine shows how contemporary artists in Gaza work on the issue of living together in their society and criticize both local and international powers, despite censorship and political hijack maneuvers. While they are less subject to the pressure of mass organizations such as Fatah and the PLO, they are closely monitored by Hamas and many choose exile when they can afford it. In response to the nationalistic imagery maintained by the glorious history of the struggle for independence, there is now a duty of social commitment, an ethics of responsibility breaking from a dominant political culture based on the "a surplus of the 'social' and the lack of space for individual self-expression"(McDougall, 2010 : 38). The movement that seems characteristic of all the countries of the Middle East and Maghreb since the 1990s, with the exception of Algeria marked by civil war, is part of a broader geopolitical dimension whose study remains to be done. Therefore we observe that the rupture caused by the dismantling of the USSR and the change it has brought about in the politicization modes impact the world of art, with the loss of influence of the artists' unions linked to the unique parties.

  • 17 The book attempts to problematize the recurrent use of archives by contemporary artists in the Arab (...)
  • 18 We’ll mention the exhibition Palestine, la creation dans tous ses états, organized from June 23 to (...)

8Yet, questioning the dominant national narrative does not mean challenging the foundations of the national imagery. In the Palestinian case, as elsewhere in the Middle East (Downey, 201517), contemporary artists draw on iconographic resources that appeal to the collective memory of the past (in Palestine, the image of keffiyeh or that of keys). . Here, the social commitment of an art that intends to challenge an oppressive power remains very strong. Such potential is reappropriated by international art actors in exhibitions that are often socially engaged, but which may contribute despite themselves to an Orientalist vision, that of a space saturated by violence or religious fanaticism18. There is also a certain contrast between modern art, which has until now retained an important place in local economies, is generally supported by national institutions, and leaves little room for explicitly religious themes, and contemporary art, most often associated with international or universal institutions, which, through installations, videos, performances, addresses these themes more frequently. Is it an attempt to meet the expectations of a globalized audience, at the risk of generating a new form of Orientalism ? In any case, we’ll keep in mind the artists' ability to act, their agency (Scheid, 2007), including in the reappropriation of an Orientalist aesthetic, as the artists exhibited as neo-orientalists by the National Gallery of Jordan studied by Thomas Richard have done.

  • 19 The absence of a museum is generally found regrettable by artists and actors in the art world (Mess (...)

9This issue also highlights the importance of the institutional context in which artists evolve, and more specifically the structuring role that museums can play, even when their audience is sparse19. Although a national institution, since its founding in 1980, the Jordan Gallery has maintained relations with the commercial world and art spaces. The museum is therefore in direct contact with actors in the art world likely to make critical remarks about the power of the State. Its diplomatic role is just as complex : it serves as a showcase for the West by giving the image of a country that respects liberties and authorizes contradiction ; it takes an anti-imperialist stance to appear as an emanation of a southern country ; through calligraphy, it finally celebrates the expression of Islamic modernity. It can also be seen as an outlet for possible protest movements attempting to domesticate the local art world.

10The "revolution of culture" launched in 1979 by the Sharjah emir may in some ways be compared to the project of the Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman. Alexander Kazerouni shows us that contrary to the neighboring emirates and Saudi Arabia, it wants to be the expression of a pan-Arabic anticolonialism and a pluralistic vision of Islam. The policy was based on the promotion of the middle classes, unlike the large cultural projects in Qatar and Abu Dhabi that were delegated to foreign suppliers (Kazerouni, 2017). Yet the 2009 Sharjah biennale was designed according to that model : could this signal difficulties in identifying the canons of contemporary art with a local tradition ?

  • 20 See Gonzalez-Quijano, 2012.

11Catherine Cornet shows that, in the case of Egypt, artists such as painters and sculptors, who are loyal to forms of academic expression, have escaped strict control by the State, probably because their work, generally limited, has been dispersed to elites. On the other hand, the appropriation of information and communication technologies (ICT) by new generations of artists has contributed to the circulation of resistance symbols via different participatory platforms and to the amplification of a protest against the order in place20, as Marion Slitine reveals about Palestine. In countries where spaces for creation and demonstration are restricted, this collective and theoretically autonomous device makes it possible to create and distribute at a lower cost. It also allows foreign networks to spot artists. Social networks, however, do not meet the specific visibility needs of artistic work nor do they structure social mobilization in the public space. Even if some of these creations are brought out of the virtual space, most of them do not go beyond the limits of exchanges within a world of local art subject to constraints that often assume the mobilization of sub-political registers.

The meaning of works

12We have chosen to open and close this issue with texts more focused on the works themselves, so as to recall their discursive value, which magnifies their aesthetic quality. To consider the works not only as objects of beauty and pleasure but as territories one can penetrate and explore by analyzing the plastic signs that compose them, is to give one the possibility of gaining access to understanding the contexts, the individuals and history. In this sense, art, understood as a representation of the societies in which it is produced, serves as knowledge. As long as one accepts to move away from a position of contemplation, the analysis of the works does reveal their intrinsic capacity to free the viewer from preconceived patterns filtered through a narrow, confined notion of spaces, when they show that they are part of a wide open space where images circulate across borders. The contribution by Alice Bombardier and Gabriel Montua provides a good example of these circulations and processes of cultural appropriation by showing how the mythical figure of the Venus de Botticelli, a Western icon par excellence, has, over the past forty years, penetrated the contemporary iconography of the Middle East, though stripped of the historicity and meanings generally attributed by the history of Western art. Through examples of works by artists Gülsün Karamustafa, Āydīn Āghdāshlū and Faraḥ Osūlī, the authors highlight how the transfer of the motif into another cultural and artistic field creates new interpretations that echo local concerns such as the position of women in Turkish society for Karamustafa, the loss of heritage values ​​in Western and Iranian societies for Āghdāshlū, the renewed practice of the Iranian miniature for Osūlī.

13The question of geocultural spaces and porous borders when it comes to artistic practices is also brought up in Morad Montazami's article on Faouzi Laatiris. Tracing the career of the artist who has been teaching at the Tetouan National Institute of Fine Arts since the early 1990s, the author highlights the singularity of his work in the Moroccan artistic landscape of the 1980-1990’s, which develops on both local and globalized issues at the crossroads of forms originating from the western scene. Recognized in the world of contemporary art for more than ten years, Laatiris has put in place a vocabulary made of the appropriation of objects manufactured at low cost (the tea glass for example) and their positioning in space through the installation, assembly or manufacture of new objects to create poetics critical of the globalized economy, manufacturing circuits and industry-driven aesthetic codes with a terminal in Morocco.

14The idea is that the development of a contemporary artistic vocabulary is a phenomenon that subsumes borders, by articulating local, national and international spaces and temporalities, and which artists rely on take an individual position on the world. The same is expressed by Marion Slitine as she describes the Palestinian case. The chronological journey she portrays shows how artists have gradually detached themselves from the nationalist discourse, expressed through academic forms in favor of a critical interpretation whose point of view is that of the individual artist whose plastic means concur with the development of contemporary technologies. The dual situation of this community of artists, both closed and internationalized, suggests how contemporary art, in its semiotic dimension, is a transnational, transcultural language capable of transmitting the reality of local situations, thus of deconstructing ethnocentric premises.

15To this effect, we should consider that the use of contemporary language is also a response to artistic recognition strategies through a principle of differentiation and renewal of practices, or through a desire to integrate international networks as shown by Alice Bombardier and Gabriel Montua, Morad Montazami and Marion Slitine. But it can also be seen as the result of circumventing an insufficient local institutional structure. This is what Marie Pierre-Bouthier underlines in her study of the careers of young Moroccan and Tunisian documentary filmmakers who have abandoned the many constraints of film production and distribution in the Maghreb to remain in a normal course of creation. To this end, they adapt the cinematographic language to that of contemporary art in order to benefit from the attractive structures that exist in this field and to make their work known, thus opening up new aesthetic perspectives in-between the media.

  • 21 For a history of these exhibitions and their role in recognizing the region’s production, see Farzi (...)
  • 22 On the general impact of artistic globalization on aesthetics, see Trentini and Yavuz, 2015..

16It may be noted that the articles focusing on the analysis of works deal essentially with contemporary art. This is due to the effect of major international events, such as the biennial shows and the Documenta in Kassel, which made it possible, as early as the 1990s, under the influence of postcolonial studies, to highlight current artistic practices in the region21 and to pave the way for the integration of its artists into the international contemporary scene. This integration however must explore the aesthetic criteria retained by the consecration bodies of the world of international art (critics, exhibition curators, gallery owners, museum curators, collectors, etc.). Obviously, contemporary artists have benefited from a context of openness, especially with the magnifying glass effect of the 2011 revolutions, which allowed them to create works that respond to a real individual aspiration. However, we cannot underestimate the fact that, contrary to popular opinion, the contemporary turn of the art in the region began earlier, as artistic avant-garde movements have developed in all these countries since their independence. (Boissier, 2017). On the other hand, we may wonder whether the artists’ freedom does not bow to another convention, even a dogmatism, that of globalized taste. Paradoxically, it is clear that it reproduces the effects of essentialization22 as much on the side of the consecration bodies, in search of specificity, as on the side of artists anxious to meet the presumed expectations of the market.

Is a shared history of the visual arts possible?

  • 23 Pamela Karimi's work on image and domestic culture in Iran provides a good example.
  • 24 This disappointment is not specific to the Middle East. Ana Laeticia Fialho showed that the exhibit (...)
  • 25 This was the case, for example, at the Tate Modern in London and at the National Museum of Modern A (...)

17The status and commitment of the artist in his society, the role of the State in the promotion of art, the writings on art, the organization of commercial networks, the conception of artistic practices, the circulation of images; indeed the various texts that make up this issue testify to the multiplicity of paths that allow access to a better knowledge of the visual arts world in the Middle East. In spite of difficulties at creating a corpus known outside the world of specialists (these studies are certainly less represented in the North Atlantic academic field than those dealing with Latin America or Asia) this is a dynamic field of study. It has benefited from the development of a history of representations and more generally of a cultural history nourished by anthropology23. This dynamism is also due in part to a political context, as Europe and North America are aware of the importance of the recognition of an Islamic or Arab cultural and artistic heritage, a recognition understood as a tool for the integration of populations who identify this heritage as their own. The promotion of the collections of ancient Islamic art in major museums (Ådahl and Ahlund, 2000) has often been associated with the exhibition of contemporary artists, without the expected decompartmentalization effect24. From a comparable perspective, the presentation of collections in several major modern art museums has been reconfigured to show the plural forms of modernity25. The interest aroused by the Arab Spring has also helped promote the dissemination of knowledge produced by artists, critics, exhibition curators, museum collections curators and the academic world.

  • 26 In France, we can mention the programs "Art and Architecture in Globalization" at the National Inst (...)
  • 27  We think of classical, modern and contemporary paradigms as defined by Nathalie Heinich
  • 28 http://www.atelierobservatoire.com/madrassa. We can also mention the Visual Arts Research Workshop (...)

18Despite the development of research programs with a digital humanities component26, the production of knowledge remains very unevenly distributed, which is partly due to access to work tools and sources, and its dissemination is even more irregular. It seems necessary to develop new analytical tools, more suitable to understand local contexts than those that are generally used27. To overcome these difficulties, various multidisciplinary groups have been formed in recent years to network while taking advantage of new digital tools. Those who use French as their main working language generally give pride of place to the Maghreb, as is the case for our research group on visual arts in the Muslim worlds (ARVIMM), which was organized in a collaborative and autonomous way from Paris in 2013, or for the Atelier de l’Observatoire (Workshop of the Observatory), founded the same year in Casablanca28. These collective research groups intend to restore the meaning and significance of works in their plurality by combining art theory, art history and reflection on curatorial practices. While they refuse to consider them as interchangeable elements of a global movement, they do not reduce them to markers of local identities.

GUMPERT Lynn and BALAGHI Shiva (dir.), 2002, Picturing Iran : Art, Society, and Revolution, London, I. B. Tauris.

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Notes

1 As a benchmark of the impact of Edward Said's critique of the visual arts, we would like to mention Linda Nochlin's frequently quoted article (Nochlin, 1983).

2 On the Visual Studies, see Dubuisson and Raux 2015 and Decobecq, 2017.

3 In the Maghreb, they are more frequently referred to as postcolonial studies.

4 It made it possible for the Maghreb to authorize a movement of emancipation from the frameworks established during the period of French occupation that modeled the reforms adopted in France, with in Tunisia a university program of plastic arts modeled after the one organized in France after 1968.

5 For a historical and critical analysis of Muslim art and Arabic art as they prevailed at the end of the nineteenth century, one can refer to Vernoit, 2000 Behrens-Abouseif and Vernoit, 2006 Labrusse, 2007 and 2011, Volait, 2009 and Bideault, Thibault and Volait, 2015.

6 Hurufiyya, which could be translated as "letterism" – in spite of a likelihood of confusion with the avant-garde current founded by Isidore Isou -, is a current that has made the Arabic letter the starting point of its plastic research..

7 This criticism may be addressed to syntheses by Wijdan Ali, Contemporary Islamic Art, Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 1997 and Nada Shabout, Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 2007.

8 Monia Abdallah has analyzed the contemporary issues of the concept of Islamic art in her thesis and in several articles (Abdallah, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2014). On the specific question of the connection with Sufism, see De Thé, 2015 and the challenging questions addressed by Siba Aldabbagh from works by Rachid Koraichi Rafa al-Nasiri and Parviz Tanavoli ( "Mysticism in the Works of Three Contemporary Middle Eastern Artists ", http://www.contemporarypractices.net/essays/volumeXI/mysticism.pdf, seen in April 2017).

9 It is the space that covers AMCA (The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey) (http://amcainternational.org/) and recently published various thematic issues (Arab Studies Journal, 2010, Naef and Helbig, 2016, with an introduction that provides a very good insight into the historiography of modern art in the region, pp. 1005-1018).

10 The confusions that are often made between the Turkish, Iranian and Arab worlds, including in prestigious museum institutions, are not only due to ignorance. They may also show intuitively that they share some common traits and face partially identical problems.

11 For a comparative analysis of the historiography of modern art in Algeria and Tunisia, see Annabelle Boissier et Fanny Gillet, “Ruptures, renaissances et continuités. Modes de construction de l’histoire de l’art maghrébin” L’Année du Maghreb, 10, 2014, p. 207-232.

12 Winegar, 2006 ; Kane, 2013. We can also point out some recently supported theses (Seggerman, 2014, Correa-Calleja, 2014 and Radwan, 2015).

13 On this subject, see Keshmirshekan, 2015. The projects on the international artistic circulations directed by Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel at the École normale supérieure in Paris give an important place to the Middle East.

14 Postcolonial approaches often suffer from a theoretical approach based on discourse analysis without taking into account their social inclusion.

15 For an analysis of the mobilizations in the Arab-Muslim area before and since the "Arab Spring", see Bennani-Chraïbi and Fillieule, 2003 and 2012 as well as Desrues and de Larramendi, 2009. On the mobilizations of artists in the movement of revolt in Syria see Boëx, 2013.

16 See Boissier, 2014, Alviso-Marino, 2013, Boëx, 2012, Findlay, 2012, Rogers, 2012 and Gillet, to be published.

17 The book attempts to problematize the recurrent use of archives by contemporary artists in the Arab world in relation with the construction of collective history, suggesting the critical potential of the individual creator vis-à-vis institutions.

18 We’ll mention the exhibition Palestine, la creation dans tous ses états, organized from June 23 to November 22, 2009 by the Institute of the Arab World, following the Israeli military operation conducted in late 2008 early 2009 against Gaza. Or the Made in Palestine project whose goal is to support Palestinian creation in the United States.

19 The absence of a museum is generally found regrettable by artists and actors in the art world (Messaoudi, 2016).

20 See Gonzalez-Quijano, 2012.

21 For a history of these exhibitions and their role in recognizing the region’s production, see Farzin, 2014.

22 On the general impact of artistic globalization on aesthetics, see Trentini and Yavuz, 2015..

23 Pamela Karimi's work on image and domestic culture in Iran provides a good example.

24 This disappointment is not specific to the Middle East. Ana Laeticia Fialho showed that the exhibition of works by contemporary Brazilian artists in specialized departments did not help their access to the most legitimate spaces (Fialho, 2014).

25 This was the case, for example, at the Tate Modern in London and at the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris with the course "Plural Modernities from 1905 to 1970", presented between October 2013 and January 2015. For a reflection on the treatment of non-European modernities, see Meier, 2013.

26 In France, we can mention the programs "Art and Architecture in Globalization" at the National Institute of Art History, "Art and Globalization" at the Centre Georges Pompidou, and Artl @ s at the École nationale supérieure.

27  We think of classical, modern and contemporary paradigms as defined by Nathalie Heinich

28 http://www.atelierobservatoire.com/madrassa. We can also mention the Visual Arts Research Workshop (ARAV) set up in September 2016 to encourage the development of visual studies on Morocco. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ARAVM/)

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Référence électronique

Alain Messaoudi, Annabelle Boissier, Fanny Gillet et Perin Emel Yavuz, « Visual arts. Contextualizing our perspectives », Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée [En ligne], 142 | décembre 2017, mis en ligne le 09 février 2018, consulté le 15 août 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/remmm/10063

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Auteurs

Alain Messaoudi

CRHIA, Université de Nantes / Invisu, CNRS

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Annabelle Boissier

Head of Research, Arts Cabinet, Londres

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Fanny Gillet

Université de Genève, Unité d’arabe

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Perin Emel Yavuz

Chercheuse indépendante

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