‘Invisible Beauty’ attracted over 20,000 visitors at the Venice Biennale, between May and November 2015. After transferring to S.M.A.K. (Museum for Contemporary Art) in Ghent in May 2016, the exhibition will be re-staged in the Erbil Citadel in an 18th-century merchant’s dwelling, the Salih Chalabi House. The Erbil Citadel was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. The historic landmark is a walled fortified settlement that sits on top of an ovoid-shaped tell and dominates the Erbil cityscape. ‘Invisible Beauty’ will be the first time that an international exhibition has been held in the space and the show has been reformulated to suit its new environment, with all of the works displayed on locally crafted furniture.
‘Invisible Beauty’ is curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Artistic Director of S.M.A.K. (Museum for Contemporary Art). It will feature five contemporary artists from across Iraq and the diaspora. The artists work in a range of media and the exhibition will include works that were produced specifically for the exhibition as well as works that were rediscovered after long periods of inattention. The exhibition will be accompanied by a display of over 500 drawings made by refugees in northern Iraq. World renowned contemporary artist Ai Weiwei selected a number of these drawings for TRACES OF SURVIVAL: Drawings By Refugees in Iraq Selected by Ai Weiwei (Mercatorfonds, 2015).
The artists in the exhibition will comprise two generations of Iraqi photographers, in the shape of Latif Al Ani (b. 1932) and Akam Shex Hadi (b. 1985), multimedia visual artist Rabab Ghazoul (b. 1970), ceramicist and sculptor Salam Atta Sabri (b. 1953) and painter Haider Jabbar (b. 1986).
‘Invisible Beauty’ opened on 19 January and runs until 16 February 2017.