EXT. / INT. INT. / EXT. @ Nouvelle Vague Marbella

The inside and the outside: two very different spaces, which nevertheless could not exist without the other. The haven of the shaded garden in the summer months could not be so enticing if it weren’t for the scorching heat of the inside space you have just escaped from. Likewise, the comfort of home after being outside in the rain would not be so special if it weren’t for the outdoors that you are about to leave. In a new exhibition at Nouvelle Vague in Marbella, a group of artists question the symbiotic relationship between the interior and the exterior.

Summer at the Caspian VII
Firouz FarmanFarmaian, Summer at the Caspian VII, 2016.

Nouvelle Vague Marbella was founded by Camilla and Firouz FarmanFarmaian in 2018 to help support a new and young generation of artists from the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on emerging practices. “The intrinsic mission of NVM is to contribute culturally to the planet through a pioneering program of exhibitions”, says Camilla, “We wanted to create a multifaceted art space with a diverse range of programming from exhibitions and performances to panels, film screenings and readings.”

In the space’s latest exhibition EXT. / INT. IN.T / EXT., three artists have been brought together who analyse the correlation to interior and exterior spaces. In photographic series 245 Degrees of Freedom (2016), Shadi Rezaei presents a pair of images of a nude woman jumping through the air against a white backdrop. The artist questions relationships between traditional and contemporary art through works seen as a series of mutable and spontaneous gestures that negotiate the relationship between stability and uncertainty. In one image the woman’s body is open, with her arms stretched out in the air. While in the other, she seems to shield herself from prying eyes, clutching her legs as though getting into the fetal position. It is clearly the same figure in both photographs, but why is her posture so different? She seems to present two different moods, two responses to the same world. Two sides of the same woman, the same moon.

Meanwhile, Samer Fouad’s black and white works A Push and Pull Through Time and Space (2019) and The Day That Changed My Life (2019) combine sculpture, video, graphic design, photography and digital collage, transporting to his viewer into an unknown digital work. A Push and Pull Through Time and Space in particular looks like an interior that has been subject to a technological glitch, with fragments of female eyes peeping through various shapes, and brushstrokes in multiple shades of black, white and grey. It is as though we have an inside look into wherever this woman might be. We will never be granted full access however, as the rest of the artwork has relegated us to a position on its exterior.

Summer at Caspian XI
Firouz FarmanFarmaian, Summer at the Caspian XI, 2016.

On display in Nouvelle Vague’s Art Marbella booth, which is running concurrently to the exhibition, Firouz Farmanfarmaian presents Summer at the Caspian (2016). Following a previous show at Shirin Gallery in New York, Farmanfarmaian worked on the forging of personal mythologies, including unknown experiences of pre-revolution Iran and mixing them with personal experiences of exile and memory. The images – captured on Super 8 mm film – recall summers spent with family in northern Iran. The extremely personal images give us a look into the “inside” as an “outsider”, and also allows the artist to look back on moments he was too young to properly remember once placed at a distance from them. The images seem hazy, as if a blur, a dream, and the textured nature of the work recalls that of Fouad’s, where various techniques are layered on top of one another.

EXT. / INT. IN.T / EXT. asks us about our relationship between the interior and exterior, two places that couldn’t exist without the other. In an exhibition that flows from the gallery space to the Art Marbella booth, the show quite literally transports its audience inside – and subsequently outside – of two different zones. Constantly putting the viewer into a state of flux between inside and outside. On another level, with all artists having roots in the Middle East, and with the exhibition taking place in Marbella, the work on display gives those on the exterior – in Spain – a look into the interior – the Middle East.

EXT. / INT. IN.T / EXT. is on display at Nouvelle Vague Marbella, Calle Carbon 112, Marbella until 30 September 2019

This article was sponsored by Nouvelle Vague Marbella

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer and curator. She is the founder of Gallery Girl - a London-based curatorial platform and website dedicated to modern and contemporary art from across the globe. Her work is primarily focused on supporting emerging female artists from the Middle East and the Caucasus. She has written for Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, Suitcase and Vice Arabia among other publications. Her exhibitions in London and Armenia have been featured in Vogue Arabia, The Art Newspaper, The Art Gorgeous and numerous other news outlets. Gallery Girl has also spoken in the UK, UAE and Belgium about the contemporary art scene in the MENA region, and is planning further events in London and Amman.

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