Monday, June 11, 2012

Art: an antidote to sports?

June 9, 2012

Ukraine hosts the Euro 2012 Football championship this year, and its local club has given 3000 tickets to its hardcore fans, the Ultras, who ignominiously boast “…no dark skin, no blacks, no slant eyes in our section of the stadium…” This racism causes me to wonder what ‘doer-done to’ relational template in childhood was internalized by these “hooligans” who seems to have a penchant for the side of the doer.

Perhaps an antidote for the “Ultras” is the contemporary art exhibition dOCUMENTA which runs for 100 days every five years in Kassel, Germany. Today begins dOCUMENTA 13 and this year’s, reflecting globalization, includes exhibits in Kabul and Banff. Artistic director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev says that dOCUMENTA (13) Collapse and Recovery “looks at moments of trauma, at turning points, accidents, catastrophes, crises, events that mark moments when the world changes.”

Some of the art this lustrum comes from war zones. American artist Michael Rakowitz, who worked in Afghanistan, features the poignant tablets carved from stone by Bamiyan masons -- Bamiyan, where the Taliban blew up, in March 2001, two of the world's artistic treasures: two giant, 1400 year old Buddhas carved from a cliff in central Afghanistan. “Both Kabul and Kassel have witnessed destruction through war and the need for physical reconstruction and mental retrieval, becoming stages where our present is represented or transcended.” Nalini Malani displays a work of carouseling shadows which highlight the oppression of women in India. A Pakistani refugee herself, her art additionally depicts the politics of the Partition and its cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. She also illustrates the essay The Morality of Refusal by Arjun Appadurai reflecting on Ghandi’s non-violent political practices. William Kentridge, the South African anti-apartheid artist is featured for the third time.