Nadim Abbas | 2023 Taipei Biennial “Small World” @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM)
Antenna Space is pleased to announce Nadim Abbas’s participation in the 2023 Taipei Biennial “Small World” at Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The duration is from November 18, 2023 to March 24, 2024.
Organised by Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), Taipei Biennial 2023 is pleased to announce the opening of its 13th edition from 18 November 2023 through 24 March 2024. Organically co-curated by independent curator Freya Chou, director and curator of Beirut Art Centre Reem Shadid, and New York-based senior writer and editor Brian Kuan Wood, the Biennial will feature works from over 20 cities and 58 local and international artists and musicians under the title of “Small World”, transforming the museum into a space of listening, gathering, and improvising through life experience and aesthetic perception.
Nadim Abbas’s work invites us to embark on a journey through strange recesses of the imagination. His installations present ambiguous scenarios that challenge the threshold of human cognition, reconfiguring our perception of seemingly familiar surroundings. Technologies of miniaturization, modeling, and play are Abbas’s technical and cognitive instruments. He is also a musician. For the Taipei Biennial 2023, Abbas continues his investigation into the aesthetics of miniature dioramas with the construction of an elaborate”sandbox”terrain.
In Pilgrim in the Microworld (2023), various modules of sand and steel are arranged in a configuration that confuses our everyday sense of scale. From a different perspective, the molded forms also start to resemble clusters of wartime bunkers, or generic remnants of logistical infrastructure that, when viewed from above, recall printed circuit boards or microchip architecture. They are subject to an ongoing process of ruin and regeneration, both within the duration of the exhibition (as the crumbling sand forms are replaced) and in figurative relation to the onward march of technological progress. Such equivalences between microchips and bunkers reveal complex associations that exist in plain view but at very different orders of magnitude.
Abbas has an overarching interest in scalability, the capacity for an entity to be changed in relative size without distorting its fundamental identity. In the worlds of technology, business, and logistics, scalability can denote the need to expand or grow at all costs. Anthropologist Anna Tsing, whose theoretical work informs Abbas’s practice, has observed “the mounting pile of ruins that scalability leaves behind”. What Abbas is after, however, has less to do with the possibilities of infinite expansion, than with the re-introduction of boundaries and new, non-scalable elements.
During the pandemic lockdowns, residents of Jalandhar in northern India were suddenly able to see the Himalayas after decades of traffic pollution dissipated from the air. The sight of nearby mountain peaks reflected what many were discovering in their private lives: in a shrinking world, the nearest things can appear unfamiliar. It was as if a spell had been broken, clearly exposing what had surrounded us the whole time, but also adding a strange new reality where politics and technology switch places, emotion and automation merge, identity and space, war and friendship, celebration and catastrophe, tension and release, death and life, all become interchangeable in the small world.
Participating Artists: Pio Abad, Nadim Abbas, Julian Abraham ‘Togar’ & Wok the Rock, Genpei Akasegawa, Edgar Arceneaux, Tekla Aslanishvili, Patricia L. Boyd, Huguette Caland, Chen Ching-Yuan, Dawn Chan, Ju-chen Chen, Yin-Ju Chen, dj sniff, Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze, Nikita Gale, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Samia Halaby, Hide and Seek Audiovisual Art, Hu Tung-Hui, Hsu Tsun-Hsu, Takashi Ito, Nesrine Khodr, Kim Beom, Lai Chih-Sheng, Li Jiun-Yang, Li Yi-Fan, Kim Lim, Jen Liu, Wietske Maas, Basim Magdy, Jumana Manna, I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih, Artemio Narro, Bahar Noorizadeh, Aditya Novali, Ipeh Nur, Arthur Ou, Ellen Pau, Alexander Provan, Oleksiy Radynski, Riar Rizaldi, Massinissa Selmani, Seher Shah, Hema Shironi, John Smith, So Wing-Po, Su Yu-Hsin, Lara Tabet, Ting Shuo Hear Say, Paul Virilio, Wang Wei, Wang Ya-Hui, Yang Chi-Chuan, Yooyun Yang, Raed Yassin, C. Spencer Yeh, Zhou Tao.
Images and text courtesy of the artist and Taipei Biennial.