Tag Archive | Arab

New Works By Hassan Sharif at Alexander Gray Associates

Combs (2016)
Combs, (2016) By Hassan Sharif (All Photos By Gail)

We were first introduced to the suspended sculptures and assemblage art of Hassan Sharif in the exhibit Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum back in 2014. Right now, Alexander Gray Associates is hosting a exhibit of Sharif’s recent work, featuring sculptures and woven assemblages. Recognized as a pioneer of conceptual art and experimental practice in the United Arab Emirates over the past four decades, Sharif has transgressed traditional frameworks for art making by extending his practice to performance, installation, drawing, painting, and assemblage that integrates ordinary objects as the primary medium. The tapestry-like works in this exhibition are conceptually linked by their relationship with the human body and social structures.

Combs Detail
Combs, Detail

For this series, the artist creates artworks from sourced inexpensive and mass-produced goods that he buys at local markets in his native Dubai. By cutting, bending, grouping, and braiding these cultural artifacts, he sheds their functionality to enhance their aesthetic and political significance. For Sharif, “the work is about consumerism. “I use cheap materials, ordinary things that are readily available in the market,” he explains.

Back to School
Back to School (2015)

By weaving together, in the ancient tradition of tapestry making, ordinary objects consumed by today’s society, Sharif points both to the hyper-industrialization impacting everyday life and the abandonment of old traditions that were key to building strong bonds among the members of communities in the past. On his interest in unifying aspects of both the ancient and modern, the artist explains “I want to nurture new ways out of the old and present these in a contemporary visual and artistic context.”

Back to School Detail
Back to School , Detail

In Sharif’s body of work, the rhythmically repetitive act of weaving echoes the involuntary functions of the human body, such as swallowing, breathing, and blinking. At the same time, the materials deployed to create the works 
in this exhibition, including combs, nail clippers, masks, and gloves are traditionally used to modify or cover the body. Recently, Sharif has centered his production around large-scale wall sculptures that incorporate objects that as he describes, “people depend on greatly to keep up with their daily routines and activity. So long as they are alive, they keep using, exhausting, and relying on them as if they are, in one way or another, part of their own bodies.”

Masks
Masks (2016)

In Masks, Sharif creates a grid of many colored face masks which cascade towards the floor, tied to one another by their black ribbons to ultimately form an irregular fringe at the bottom of the sculpture. The artists notes that masks have “an important historical role. In the Middle East, women cover their faces with veils. In Africa [masks are] used in dances to ward off evil spirits. Hiding one’s identity has become increasingly important.”

Masks Detail
Masks, Detail

Ladies and Gentlemen (2014)
Ladies and Gentlemen (2014)

For Ladies and Gentlemen, he assembled mass-produced and inexpensive female and male shoes, into a drape-like object that emphasizes seriality and the dislocation of functional objects. His use of shoes speaks to an interest in sexual politics across centuries and geographies; in the work, men and women occupy a common space, and are bound together with hand-painted papier maché and ropes. In this way, he refers to the intrinsic connection between individuals and society.

Ladies and Gentlemen Detail
Ladies and Gentlemen, Detail

Sharif’s interest in visual accumulation, and in systematic production, calculations, and geometric permutations are apparent in his choice of material for Combs (2016). For this work, he assembled plastic combs in a variety of bright colors, which jut out from the wall at irregular angles creating a haphazard visual rhythm. For the artist, combs, widely used to tidy hair, exemplify the use of logic necessary in mass-production of consumer goods. As he explains, “the number of teeth, the distance between them, their length and thickness, all seem to be well calculated, and they have been so for thousands of years.” Sharif echoes the geometric precision of the combs by organizing them in a meticulous gridded pattern in space, following a calculated mathematical model of his own invention, to create a hanging tapestry.

New Works by Hassan Sharif will be on Exhibit Through May 14, 2016 at Alexander Gray Associates, Located at 510 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District

Signage

Punching Bag and Artificial Leg
Punching Bag (Left Background) and Artificial Leg (Right Foreground)

Qalandia 2087 by Wafna Hourani at the New Museum

Qalandia 2087
All Photos By Gail

One of my favorite pieces from the Here and Elsewhere, group exhibit currently up at the New Museum of Contemporary Art is a mixed media installation called Qalandia 2087 by Palestinian artist Wafa Hourani.

Qalandia

Qalandia 2087 fills nearly an entire gallery at the museum and is lots of fun to explore while contemplating the political and sociological ramifications of the piece, especially considering what is going on in that part of the world at this very moment in time.

Qalandia 2087

Here is some information I found on the piece at Nadour Dot Org:

Built from cardboard boxes and archive photographs, Qalandia 2087(2009) is the third and last part of a series of installations by Wafa Hourani.

Qalandia

The artist reproduced, as an architectural model, one of main check-points and Palestinian refugee camps. Located in the north of Jerusalem, Qalandia constitutes, since 1949, Ramallah’s entrance and the exit point, dividing the country on its western bank.

Qalandia 2087

Hourani was interested in this particular place in the Palestinian history, because of its proximity with its own airport, transformed into military base during the Israeli occupation. This paradox of a territory, initially connected to the rest of the world and now a place for Palestinian isolation, illustrates the politico-social reality of the country.

Qalanida 2087 Rose Courtyard

Qalanida 2087 Rose Courtyard Detail

In Qalandia 2087, the artist proposes a futuristic vision of this place, a hundred years after the first Intifada. Contrary to the first two pieces in the series, which presented an apocalyptic vision of Qalandia – a hundred years after the exodus Palestinian for Qalandia 2047 (2006) and a hundred years after the six day old war for Qalandia 2067 (2008), the last version evokes the future of Palestine on the basis of political Utopia.

Qalandia 2087 with Fish

Qalandia 2087 with Fish Detail

The question of the occupation of a given territory is no longer relevant, the main concern is now integration. The wall, which originally divided space between the check-point and the refugee camp, has been replaced by a mirror facade.

Qalandia Airport

Qalandia Airport has also retrieved its initial function as a civil airport, while the check-point has become a place reserved for public speech. Life seems to win again.

Qalandia 2087

Racing cars, airline planes, whimsically shaped TV aerials, a coffee terrace and a swimming pool transform the refugee camp into a space where communication and social links become possible again. The new party, “The Mirror,” has just won the elections and is sending each Palestinian back to their history by inviting them to take part in the construction of a better future.

Vérane Pina
Translated by Valérie Vivancos

Here and Elsewhere is on Exhibit Through September 28th, 2014, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, located at 235 Bowery (at Prince street) in Soho, NYC.

Qalandia 2087 Patio Detail

Qalandia 2087 Patio Detail

Suspended Objects By Hassan Sharif

Suspended Objects By Hassan Sharif
Photos By Gail

The above pictured sculpture, Suspended Objects (2011) was created by artist Hassan Sharif from countless long strands made up of multi-colored yarns, fishing line, twine, trolling reels, string and wire, tied together and also wrapped around bits of plastic, foam and other found objects. It’s super colorful and reminds me of a big Jellyfish.

Suspended Objects is part of the Here and Elsewhere group show now on exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, previously discussed in this post, so click that link for more information!

Suspended Objects By Hassan Sharif
Suspended Objects (Detail)

Match Box Art By Mohamed Larbi Rahhali

Mohamed Rahali Match Box Art
All Photos By Gail

These tiny collages, drawings and mixed-media works all represented on Match Boxes are part of the series called Omri (My Life) by Moroccan artist Mohamed Larbi Rahhali.

Mohamed Rahali Match Box Art

Omri is included in Here and Elsewhere, the comprehensive group exhibit currently inhabiting The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.

Mohamed Rahali Match Box Art

Here and Elsewhere is a major exhibition of contemporary art from and about the Arab world, and brings together more than forty-five artists from over fifteen countries.

Mohamed Rahali Match Box Art

These photos capture just a fraction of the hundreds of Match Boxes in Mohamed Larbi Rahhali‘s piece, and the work is still ongoing.

Watch for more posts featuring art from Here and Elsewhere on The Gig in the upcoming week.

Here and Elsewhere is on Exhibit Through September 28th, 2014, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, located at 235 Bowery (at Prince street) in Soho, NYC.

Mohamed Rahali Match Box Art