press release

During the last five years, the Cairo liaison office of Pro Helvetia has been focusing on building up networks between artists and cultural producers from Switzerland and the Arab region. Exchange is a process where results cannot be tracked easily. This group exhibition serves as a means for critical self reflection and also as a concentrated public presentation of the Artist-in-Residence activities of Pro Helvetia Cairo. It shows a choice of various productions developed during residency stays, which address the different notions connected to the system of intercultural exchange. Through a selection of - not previously shown in Egypt - follow-up projects, the exhibition presents new commissions and works in progress, including music and performance.

«Where Are You?» - People ask this question in everyday communication when they are looking for each other. In the context of this group exhibition with Swiss, Egyptian, Lebanese and Jordanian participants of the Pro Helvetia Artist –in-Residence (A-i-R) exchange programme, «Where Are You?» opens up a dialogue about existential, political and aesthetical standpoints.

Artists in residence have to redefine their own position constantly, trying to adjust to a strange territory but still carrying their mental luggage with them. The gap between here and there more and more belongs to the general living conditions within today's global society: On Facebook you can contact your friends on the other half of the globe, in Cairo you can buy Swiss cheese in a supermarket and in Zurich you can watch Aljazeera on a TV screen. But still, if you go out on the street, you are expected to follow the local rules. The artists participating in «Where Are You?» not only enlarge the perspective of the tourist gaze when they look at details of daily life and reflect on social and political issues, but also act as creative mediators in a world of confusion and disorientation.

Conflicts between different classes of society, between different state systems and religions and the fear about the loss of cultural identity have a long tradition. The Pro Helvetia exchange programme offers the artists as well as their public the possibility to reach beyond the well known clichés of the orient and occident. Artists in residence are no national flags, but individuals who take the chance to become involved in an ongoing dialogue between civilizations. This includes the dialogue between different art worlds, which, like planets, are constantly moving their position between financial and intellectual powers, national interests and international trends.

"Where Are You?" Group exhibition with participants of the Artist-in-Residence exchange programme initiated by the Cairo liaison office of Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council 1. - 22. November 2009 Opening: Sunday 1. Nov, 2009 - 7:00 pm Curator's tour & press conference: Monday 2.Nov, 2009 – 5:00 pm

The Townhouse Gallery: 10 Nabarawy Street off Champollion Street Downtown, Cairo - Egypt

Artists: Ziad Bitar and Nayla Dabaji (LB), Davide Cascio (CH), Chalet5 / Guido Reichlin & Karin Wälchli (CH), Maia Gusberti (CH), Pascal Hachem (LB), Daniela Keiser (CH), San Keller (CH), Basim Magdy (EG), Haytham Nawar (EG), Hany Rashed (EG), Nadja Solari (CH), Ingrid Wildi / Mauricio Gajardo (CH), Ala' Younis (JOR), Margot Zanni (CH) Christoph Oertli (CH) & Ahmed El Sawy (EG): «Sindbad - concert» Alfred Zimmerlin (CH): «lectures + concerts»

Curator: Beate Engel (CH)

only in german

"Where Are You?"
Group exhibition with participants of the Artist-in-Residence exchange programme
Kurator: Beate Engel

Künstler: Ziad Bitar & Nayla Dabaji, Davide Cascio, Chalet5 / Guido Reichlin & Karin Wälchli, Maia Gusberti, Pascal Hachem, Daniela Keiser, San Keller, Basim Magdy, Haytham Nawar, Hani Rashed, Nadja Solari, Ingrid Wildi / Mauricio Gajardo, Ala Younis, Margot Zanni, Christoph Oertli & Ahmed El Sawy, Alfred Zimmerlin