As part of the New York City art fair, “The Armory Show,” which showed from March 2-5 at the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, showcased Sabrina Amrani. Vogue Arabia’s Sueraya Shaheen speaks to the Algerian gallerist about her current exhibit and what’s emerging on the Arabian art scene.
Algerian gallerist Sabrina Amrani, who studied Sociology at the Sorbonne, has been running an eponymous contemporary art gallery in Madrid since June 2011. She opened the gallery in the neighbourhood of Malasaña, long before it became the centre of the art zeitgeist that it is today. Hot on the heels of ARCOmadrid, Cape Town, and the India Art Fair, Amrani represented her gallery in New York for the first time this year, bringing with her two established, contemporary artists: Manal AlDowayan and Joël Andrianomearisoa. Next up? Art Dubai and Art Brussels…
How do you choose artists for exhibits, especially a curation such as “The Armory?”
[The artists’] work has a really strong dialogue between them and both have a presence in relevant museum collections in the US. Both Manal and Joël are in a great moment, and we need to support them as much as we can. Embracing diverse media, AlDowayan’s work encompasses black and white photography, sculpture, video, sound, neon, and large-scale participatory installations. Her artistic practice revolves around themes of active forgetting, archives, and collective memory, with a large focus on the state of Saudi women and their representation.
Andrianomearisoa is always on the edges. He does not approach his work in a direct way, but places it at the edges of the desire of whoever discovers it. His work comes down to a question of posture. He listens to the pulses of life with more generosity than they are given, and finds a way to be present in the world, in the nude of life.
Is this vocation a childhood dream?
Yes. I always wanted to be a gallerist.
Describe the Arabian art scene in three words…
Indescribable in three.
Why are art fairs so exciting?
You meet a lot of people that you know from all over the world, and you keep meeting in every city. It’s fun; [you get to] explore the city and the current exhibitions. But the best fun comes when you make good sales.
What will you show back home at the Sabrina Amrani Art Gallery when you eventually return?
We are preparing a spectacular exhibition by the acclaimed Egyptian artist Chant Avedissian. It is a fake retrospective, in the sense that it revisits the elements that he has been using in his career with new and old work from 1975 to the present time; the new pieces are to die for. It’s a show that describes his trajectory. We have established a really powerful collaboration with him, with hundreds of emails and a key visit to meet him in Cairo, and the result is amazing. Keep an eye on the return of Chant Avedissian. He hasn’t exhibited in a gallery in more than a decade.
The Sabrina Amrani Art Gallery is one of the leading art galleries in Madrid, Spain and represents a select group of contemporary and emerging artists. A relatively new entrant to Spain’s art scene, it has already created a great deal of buzz for encouraging new voices that are emerging in the Middle East and the North African region.
“Transfer, Transport, Transit” by Chant Avedissian is showing at the Sabrina Amrani Art Gallery from March 17 to May 27, 2017 at Madera 23, 28004 Madrid, Spain.