Presence is Not the Opposite of Absence is a group exhibition by Hana El-Sagini, Hend Elbalouty, Marian Aazer, Razan Sabbagh, Rozeen Bisharat and Ruba Salameh, six female artists who together form the art collective Hexa. For the UdK Rundgang 2021, the collective presents the works and outcome of their exhibition ABSENCE, available to the public for the first time in a new installation made specifically for the occasion.
ABSENCE was a performance art exhibition that took place in May 2021, where neither audience, artists, nor artworks were — or could be — physically present due to the lockdown in Germany. As a response to the situation, the six artists had for months been documenting their lockdown lives in A4 format from their different geographical locations. This effort culminated in the exhibition, where each artist remotely yet simultaneously presented her works from her specific location by connecting to and printing from one of six printers installed in the otherwise empty exhibition space in Berlin during a live streaming of the event. The resulting works on paper and accompanying videos remain anonymous, only showing the date and time of creation, a stream of creation examining the concepts of absence and presence during a global pandemic.
Curated by Khaled Barakeh, the exhibition is presented by ARTIST TRAINING and made in collaboration with coculture, a Berlin-based non-profit organisation dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by displaced artists and cultural producers.
The project ARTIST TRAINING is a qualification program offered by the UdK Berlin Career College aimed at the qualification, consulting, and networking of artists in exile.