• Geometry and Color. Decoding the Arts of Islam in the West from the Mid-19th to the Early 20th Century
    Vol. 3 (2021)

    The art and architecture of the Islamic world had a decisive impact on the development of decorative and fine arts from 1880 to 1945. Many leading artists and architects took inspiration from the rich Islamic language of forms and ornamentation. They were fascinated by the mathematical principles and unusual harmonies of colors in Persian miniatures and rugs, stained glass windows or Iznik tiles, and punched metal works and ceramics from the Near East, North Africa and Moorish Spain. While only some of them actually visited the Islamic world and studied its art and architecture in situ, many discovered it through exhibitions and publications. Following on from Paris (1893/1903), Stockholm (1897) and Algiers (1905), Munich set new standards in 1910 with the exhibition “Meisterwerke muhammedanischer Kunst” (“Masterpieces of Muhammadan Art”). Museums, art dealers and private collectors from a number of countries contributed some 3,600 works, including valuable carpets, ceramics, metalwork pieces and Persian miniatures. The exhibition marked a turning point not only for the academic studies of the time, but also in terms of the reception of Islamic arts. In the Western fine and decorative arts of the 19th century, the “Orient” conjured up motivic imagery heavily influenced by the colonialist perspective, whereas the artists of early Modernism investigated Islam’s stylistic devices in depth, transposing them to their own environment through a process of artistic internalization. In combination with their own traditions and their respective times, it was this very internalisation that instilled motivating creative processes, out of which artists developed countless new forms of expression.

    The contributions in this volume approach these questions from different perspectives, considering theoretical and practical applications developed by western artists, architects and decorators and how Islamic art was considered as a model for the renewal of European arts at the turn of the twentieth century. 

  • Manazir; Journal; 2; circulations; trajectoires; artistiques; Nord de l'Afrique; France; XIXe-XXe siècles); Alain Messaoudi; Camilla Murgia; 2020

    Circulations et trajectoires artistiques entre le Nord de l'Afrique et la France (XIXe-XXe siècle)
    Vol. 2 (2020)

    Since the nineteenth century, North Africa, from Egypt to Morocco, has undergone deep upheavals, linked to the imperial and colonial expansion of the European powers and the re-ordering policy (tanzimāt) of the Ottoman Empire, and later to the process of decolonization and the affirmation of nation-states. These economic, social, political and cultural changes were accompanied by references to European models. It is more precisely to references to works or more generally to French culture in local productions that we intend to devote this issue, by attempting to understand their modalities. Contact with France has taken different forms. In Egypt, after the French occupation between 1798 and 1801 and the important presence of French advisors in Muhammad Ali’s policy of state reform, French culture may have represented a form of protest to British presence after 1881. In Algeria, France took military control of the country and encouraged a settlement policy accompanied by an assimilationist discourse. The French protectorates in Tunisia and Morocco may have fostered the development of an ambivalent image of France as a tutor favoring a specific development process or as an abusive power stifling it. Competing foreign models, Italian in Tunisia or Spanish in Morocco, have also to be taken into consideration. 

    In the field of the arts, explicit references to France or implicit cultural transfers have taken varied forms. We will focus here on receptivity to French references as well as on reactions or refusal to models presented as foreign or imposed by force. We will study the modes of appropriation, questioning and understanding in different genres of artistic production, as visual arts or music.

  • The Arab Apocalypse; art; abstraction; activism; middle east; silvia naef; nadia radwan; manazir journal; 1

    The Arab Apocalypse. Art, Abstraction & Activism in the Middle East
    Vol. 1 (2019)

    This first issue of Manazir Journal originates in the exhibition dedicated to the Lebanese-American artist, poet and writer Etel Adnan held at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern in 2018 and the related symposium. It illustrates how artists, in the Arab world, connected abstraction and political activism, in a search that ties visual aspects to clearly expressed opinions and visions of and on this region. The title refers to Adnan's well-known epic poem "The Arab Apocalypse" which she wrote during the Lebanese civil war.