This picture was taken in January 2012, in Sidi Bou Said, a small town outside Tunis with a long history of visits by European artists and thinkers, Klee; Matisse, Macke, Andre Gide, Foucault… A powerful, mythical and evocative setting, with the ruins of Carthage a few kilometres East and the Island of Lampedusa 80km North.
The ideas for Arts Cabinet emerged with this setting as its backdrop. A setting all too familiar but foreign at once, which provokes a sense of suspended meaning about pure contemplation, nostalgia or flanerie. Instead, the perfect setting perhaps for asking questions, challenging its connotations and imagining ways of addressing the urgencies of contemporary life. The thought that an artist can provoke a situation which has the power to make you suddenly step out of everyday life and start looking at things differently. The poetic idea that the artist can represent the invisible. That his intervention can translate images into narratives that in turn intervene in the imaginaries of a place.
This is my first blog and I wanted to invite you to use this platform to share your views, ask questions. Please see this space as a way to contribute and engage with ideas, peoples and places.
We are currently undertaking two large scale international projects in the Maghreb, the Nordic countries, across Europe, and in Zimbabwe.
To shape and develop these programmes, we have engaged with organisations, artists, curators, thinkers, practionners and academics across borders, with the aim of creating a community of practice which reflects critically and responds to the content and scope of every proposition. I am immensely pleased and honoured to be working with such a wide and distinguished range of partners and collaborators in every country and I would like to say that everyone, with no exception, is contributing enormously to shape and refine the content of the projects, making them ever more fluent, and rich.
One of Arts Cabinet’s main concerns is to offer through these programmes a space for conversation and continuity.
Svetlana Sequeira Costa