Nadim Karam’s Politics of Dialogue: All Talk and No Change

Lebanese artist Nadim Karam is presenting a new large-scale kinetic sculpture entitled Politics of Dialogue: The Merry-Go-Round as part of the exhibition Personal Structures hosted by the European Cultural Centre (ECC) during the Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice from 11 May to 24 November 2019.

Politics of Dialogue tackles the underlying paradox of ineffective communication in an era marked by hyperconnectivity. At a time when geo-political institutions around the world, from the European Union to the Arab League, are suffering repeated crises of communication, Karam’s sculpture highlights the cleavage in dialogue between the political and public spheres.

The installation consists of seven elongated figures assembled in a circle and mounted on a rotating platform. Facing each other, the gold-painted figures morph into megaphone-like forms and seem to be locked into an intense dialogue. But as the platform turns to the audible tune of a carousel and the figures move up and down, they each take a turn to lead a discussion that only goes round and round.

As Karam explains, “Dialogue assumes the creation of a level playing field; however, it often happens in isolation from the area or population of concern becoming thus futile and obsolete. Politics of Dialogue is about communication confined in a bubble. The longer the dialogue, the more deafening it becomes. It is a trapped dialogue, rotating upon itself, and offered to the observer on a shiny platter.”

Karam’s sculpture follows the artist’s long tradition of creating public art in response to moments of political and social crisis in cities as diverse as Beirut, Prague and Melbourne. From his early works on paper in the Age of Anxiety to his more recent Shout and Silence series of sculptures, Karam extracts playful absurdity from adversity, pointing to the multilayered complexities of our societies.

 

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