Method to the Madness at CAP Kuwait

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The burgeoning contemporary art scene in Kuwait was treated to a splash of colour this week as Method to the Madness arrived on their doorsteps. The show, a collection of art from four Khaleeji visual artists travelled from its home at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in Dubai to the innovative warehouse space of Kuwait’s new Contemporary Art Platform (CAP).

The exhibition looks at the issue of subjectivity in the judgement of art and invites a Kuwaiti audience to participate in the artistic process. Featuring works by artists Jowhara Al Saud (Saudi Arabia), Noor Al Suwaidi (UAE), Nadine Kanso (Lebanon) and Jaffat Al Oraibi (Bahrain), the event showcased the finished works alongside the draft and creative influences the artists used to complete them. This was part of a simultaneous education programme led by Cuadro’s managing director, Roberto Lopardo.

‘The educational premise of the exhibition is what differentiated this particular project,’ says Lopardo, ‘allowing audiences to explore how an artist decides when a work of art is complete and what the influences, preliminary ideas or thought processes are that go into a finished work of art.’

Both galleries are non-profit platforms and Lopardo says he felt the partnership helped Cuadro realise its vision to deepen the region’s art industry. He says the exhibition attracted many established collectors as well a significant number of young collectors that were inquisitive and eager to learn. ‘Kuwait is fostering artists and collectors through spaces like CAP Kuwait, dedicated to awareness and appreciation of the arts.’

CAP Kuwait was originally started as a non-profit venture funded by Kuwaiti art collector Amer Huneidi just last year. Abed Al Kadiri, the director says, ‘one of the unique things about CAP is its space.’ The centre is split into three sections comprising of one public art library, a studio and a gallery, and Al Kadiri says, each area has its own spirit and energy. ‘We wanted our audience to feel CAP’s originality by creating a modern space, [with a] neutral and comfortable atmosphere.’

The CAP mission is to focus on arts education and how curatorial themes can teach the Kuwaiti public about modern and contemporary Middle Eastern and international art. ‘The public has been positive with our mission, our concept and also our plan of creating an art centre in Kuwait,’ says Al Kadiri. ‘We’ve received a lot of encouragement and support since our first opening.’

He explained that Method to the Madness was a good opportunity for them to partner with a well-established Dubai-based gallery that shares similar ideas of introducing Kuwaiti artists to the regional art industry and, at the same time, allow it to catch up with neighbouring countries that have stepped ahead in terms of developing their arts scene.

‘Kuwait was one of the pioneers in art in the region and played an essential role in introducing and promoting all kinds of visual culture,’ he says. ‘But unfortunately we’ve had a gap during the last decade… What we hope for the future is to have more freedom in expressing art as well as to host bigger events on a national level.’ This goes alongside their aim of raising awareness of contemporary art in Kuwait from installations and video art to photography and conceptual art. ‘We recently started seeing a lot of young photographers, but we hope to have more spaces to introduce new mediums and more of the contemporary art.’

‘The art exhibitions and educational programmes that CAP has run have so far been successful’, says Al Kadiri, and they are planning numerous more events in the future, including film screenings, performances and book launches. Specifically, on May 16th – 30th there will be a photography exhibition titled Rawiya featuring the works of six female photographers from the Middle East. In June, the second instalment in a series of shows from Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, titled Beirut will be moved to Kuwait. It explores the creative potential of changing metropolises and will focus on filmic works by 17 artists who deal with issues of freedom, self-realisation and equality under the aggravated conditions of permanent conflict.

Method to the Madness runs until May 9th.

You can also find this article on the Brownbook website.