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Abstracting Parables

Abstracting Parables

The next stop on the journey of sonsbeek 20→24, the international Arnhem-based art manifestation, will be Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. This exhibition brings together three historical artistic positions, that of: Dutch-Jewish painter and composer Sedje Hémon, Afro-Brazilian painter, poet, essayist, dramatist and member of Parliament Abdias Nascimento, and Pakistani artist and designer Imran Mir.

Abstracting Parables is a manifestation of three distinct historical voices and artistic positions, each proposing unique understandings of how abstraction can be translated into multiple and complex languages. The exhibition brings together the works of Dutch-Jewish painter and composer Sedje Hémon (1923-2011), Afro-Brazilian painter, poet, essayist, dramatist, and political activist Abdias Nascimento (1914-2011), and Pakistani artist and designer Imran Mir (1950-2014).

Conceived as an exhibition with three in(ter)dependent chapters, Abstracting Parables is approached as a work of translation. In its meaning ‘to carry across’, the exhibition deliberates on translations of meaning to form, thoughts to symbols, symbols to language, and language to experiences.

Central to this exhibition is Hémon’s, Mir’s, and Nascimento’s relationships with abstraction, geometry, spiritualities, histories, and the way their works inherently challenge the confines of modernism–opening up a world of multiple modernisms. The exhibition highlights the artists’ multifaceted oeuvres across geographies and histories, as tales that assemble and interlink aesthetic, socio-political, spiritual, and scientific discourses.

By presenting these positions at the Stedelijk, the institution continues its critical engagement with the blind spots, historical gaps, and silences in its collection.

Exhibition — 1 Jul until 16 Oct 2022