Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen opens an exhibition of works by Anna Boghiguian
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Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen opens an exhibition of works by Anna Boghiguian
Anna Boghiguian, From the Palace to the Ditch, 2021, Courtesy the artist.

SIEGEN.- The Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen is presenting the first monographic museum exhibition in Germany of work by Anna Boghiguian (*1946 Cairo, EG). In her works, the Egyptian-Canadian artist of Armenian origin explores the impact of historical, economic and political events. From a very personal perspective and with deep roots in literature, the well-travelled artist engages with the world’s peoples, cultures, places and major connecting lines. Boghiguian translates her nomadic experiences into artists’ books, drawings, paintings, collages and installations.

The exhibition “Sometimes unexpectedly the present meets the past” at MGKSiegen provides a comprehensive overview of Anna Boghiguian’s work in twelve rooms through ground-breaking spatial installations. In addition, new groups of works dealing with the construction of the Suez Canal and the time of the Spanish flu will be shown for the first time.

“From the Palace to the Ditch” (2021) consists of a series of mainly black and white drawings on Ingres paper. On about 40 sheets, Boghiguian deals with the history of the Suez Canal, the European interests in its construction, and the later protagonists in its operation. Boghiguian traces back the ideas for a sea link that have existed since the 16th century: Beginning with the first concession in 1854 to the French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps by Egyptian governor Muhammad Said, the founding of an international Suez Canal company, via the constant political resistance of Great Britain and its occupation of Egypt in 1882, to the Convention of Constantinople in 1888. This convention is still valid today and guarantees all nations free passage for both merchant and warships in times of peace and war. Boghiguian investigates the Suez Canal as a canal for international trade. Its global significance became obvious to everyone once again with the Suez Canal obstruction in March 2021.

The second work, “Egos and Mirrors” (2021), consists of large format paper cuts and is dedicated to the period of the Spanish flu and its influence on world politics in the context of the Paris Peace Conference about 100 years ago. The infection of US President Woodrow Wilson, who was physically weakened at the most important point of the negotiations, had serious consequences for the meetings of the four victorious powers. France, Great Britain, Italy and the USA discussed the conditions for the German Reich, which was excluded from the negotiations having lost the war. The results led, among other things, to the Peace Treaty of Versailles, which was considered too harsh by the German Empire and ultimately destabilised international economic relations. In front of a reflecting surface, Boghiguian presents selected scenes and figures from this time, so allowing the present and the past to meet directly.

Boghiguian is considered one of the most interesting contemporary artists of our time. She has exhibited regularly in international museums and art institutions over the past ten years. Among other things, she took part in dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel and received – together with other Armenian artists – the Golden Lion in 2015 for her contribution to the Armenian Pavilion at the 56th Biennale di Venezia. In addition, her works have been exhibited at the Sharjah (2011), Istanbul (2015), Santa Fe (2016) and Sydney (2019) biennials, as well as Manifesta 13 in Marseille (2020). Her work has been shown in major solo exhibitions worldwide, most recently in the S.M.A.K., Ghent (2020), Tate St. Ives (2019), the New Museum, New York (2018), Museum der Moderne, Salzburg (2018), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2017), and Carré d’Art, Nîmes (2016).

“Anna Boghiguian, Sometimes unexpectedly the present meets the past” at MGKSiegen is curated by Thomas Thiel and being produced in cooperation with the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Valencià, where the exhibition will be shown subsequently. Accompanying the exhibitions, a comprehensive monograph will be published in spring 2022, edited by the MGKSiegen, the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM) in Valencià and the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent.

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