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Next Week’s Agenda at ALSERKAL

“Ripples”
Mohannad Orabi
Ayyam Gallery
Dubai (11 Alserkal Avenue)
13 September – 26 October 2017
Opening reception: Wednesday, 13 September from 7.00 to 9.00 pm

Ripples will highlight a new body of work by the Dubai-based Syrian artist. With his latest paintings, Orabi seeks to provide a counter image to the death and destruction that most Syrian artists are now widely recording. Over the past year, he has turned to his daily life for inspiration. For example, some of the doe-eyed children that have occupied his canvases since 2012 are depicted with details of his young daughter’s life, such as the bows and ribbons that often signal the initial stage of femininity. Focusing on everyday subject matter provides a creative outlet for the artist as he is deeply affected by the ongoing war in his native country.

In a number of paintings, the sparrows that first appeared in Orabi’s work a decade ago have returned to sit at the feet of buoyant children who are shown at peace in the world. According to the artist, this imagery invokes his memories of Syria before the war, whereas the built up surfaces of his canvases, which are covered in layers of sand, refer to his new life in the UAE and the years that have passed since he left Damascus. Glistening hues of paint mixed with sand represent the various environments of the Emirates. Different earth tones indicate desert landscapes; an abundance of white suggests the vividness of sundrenched streets; and cool blues recall the bordering sea.


“Gordafarid”
Roshanak Aminelahi
Ayyam Gallery
Dubai (12 Alserkal Avenue)
13 September – 26 October 2017

In her debut exhibition with Ayyam Gallery, Aminelahi will present a new series of mixed media paintings that are inspired by ancient mythology, such as the Shahnameh, an epic poem written in Included in the exhibition are monumental portraits of Persian warriors alongside the objects that objects that represent specific stories. For the artist, these captivating figures not only speak of her Iranian heritage and the rich culture in which she was raised, but also reflect the diversity of Dubai, where she has lived and worked for more than a decade. Although the new series was composed with the ‘filter’ of Persian culture, her latest paintings reflect universal subjects like war, love, and heroism—poetic themes that are shared among the many cultures of this cosmopolitan city.

The show’s title is adapted from an included work that depicts the heroine Gordafarid, the powerful, defiant daughter of a celebrated warrior who is said to have protected Persia from an invading army after the defense’s leader was captured. Joining the battle, she disguised herself as a male soldier and delayed the approaching army by boldly charging at them. In a recent interview, the artist remarked that when she heard the story of Kurdish women taking up arms to protect their villages in Northern Syria, she was immediately reminded of the story of Gordafarid.


“Good Face and Incurable Flaws”
Amir Khojasteh and Philip Mueller
Carbon 12
Unit 37, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, UAE
13 September – 31 October 2017

Painting a likeness is less about mimetic recreation and more about capturing the essence by deconstructing the face into disparate wholes that will eventually come back together again. Portraiture is the vehicle to capture subjective interpretations of history, media and today, and Austrian Philip Mueller and Iranian Amir Khojasteh build on its half-length tradition by breaking it down to its essential, if initially abstract, components to use perception as a very real foray into contemporary modes of power.

These are the faces of the fear-makers.


“Heretic Spaces”
Thameur Mejri
El Marsa Gallery
Unit 23, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, UAE
13 September – 19 October

 

This latest body of work comprised of paintings and drawings is an honest expression which springs from a fascination with the human form and human strength and fortitude amidst so many challenges – whether they be social, religious, political, or deal with concerns of studio practice or the fashions that drive the consciousness of the art world and art establishment.

This is an aggressively exposed work that directly confronts the rising levels of violence and incitement in the Middle East and North Africa; an exercise that sculpts the body and the painting together, where the artist has turned his face towards what is happening in the world today, and has not shied away from the existence of War or Death, but asserts that Beauty remains as a presence and affirmation of Truth.

In his new paintings, Mejri cuts up the human body in the same way that a child disassembles and disperses his or her toys all over a space. Deconstruction is the core of his project, and the architecture of his work; the painting becomes a slaughterhouse, and an arena of conflict. The painting is all these spaces where the body is in a predicament.


“To Be or Not To Be, That is the Question. And Though, it Troubles the Digestion”
Ramin Haerizadeh
Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde
Unit 17, Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, UAE
13 September – 2 November 2017

Alongside his own photographs that subversively play with all kinds of old and new photographic devices, he collects materials from a wide array of existing printed materials: used cardboard postal box protecting a desired work of art, plastic packaging, oud boxes or old films posters from the internet, as well as daily objects such as airport souvenirs, small plastic figurines, anatomic models, miniature Tabasco bottles, etc… He uses his mother’s photo albums where she records her existence through photography and maintained a diary of her times at a boarding school in the UK until the revolution, the war and post-war period in Iran. These materials are filtered: the artist photographs, scans, prints, collages, re-photographs, re-prints and again re-prints and re-collages them, to eventually allows unrelated objects to appear in a work as an irruption.

All put together, the works escape easy generalisation as they are no longer in the domain of photography or printing. Instead the artist’s life becomes tangible in the works formed by the stratification of his materials. Haerizadeh’s canvases are uncanny; underlining familiar scenes from Dubai metro or Mall of the Emirates, a bombarded dentist clinic in Syria, or HSBC bank’s CEO office… In doing so, his montages allow incompatibilities to co-exist. Notably unfussy, Differently intentional act of putting stuff together. You take something and seated next to something else in order to pose, but not necessarily to answer. The question about their relationship. You do this not because on its own it’s a particularly interesting thing to do, but because as a context, art give things in relation a capacity to inform that no other framework can.**

In a series of works on paper paradoxically entitled Still Life, everything is set in constant flux and transformation, where a protest in Turkey eventually invites the viewer to contemplate the scene on a ‘pause’ mode. Beyond the obvious notions, the works carry concealed messages about questions around gender roles and identity, religious intolerance, media manipulation, political propaganda and contemporary art, ultimately aspiring to challenge hegemonic ethics in general.

*Title extracted from the poem Children of the Age by Wislawa Szymborska

**Quote by Fred Moten


“Theatre of the Absurd”
Group Exhibition
Green Art Gallery
AL QUOZ 1, STREET 8, ALSERKAL AVENUE, UNIT 28 , DUBAI, UAE
13 September – 28 October 2017

Green Art Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition that reflects on the relationship between art and architecture, exploring the ways they influence and feed off each other. Infusing symbols that have been traditionally used in architecture, the artists in the exhibition question other formal enquiries and the relationship between man, objects and the space they inhibit. They produce fleeting and ambiguous realities which, momentarily, disturb our conditioned relationship with the objects that surround us.

Theatre of the Absurd features works by Farah Atassi, Ana Mazzei, Nika Neelova, Hemali Bhuta and Elena Alonso.


“Behind the Portrait”
Group Exhibition
Gulf Photo Plus
D3, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE
13 September -7 October 2017

As our world becomes increasingly saturated with images, virtually every meaningful moment from birth to death is captured on camera, be it on video, mobile, digital, or film. This abundance of imagery, and the fleeting moments with which we consume it, can cause us to lose sight of the story and the emotions behind each image.

For our annual community show, “Behind the Portrait”, we asked photographers to submit meaningful portraits accompanied by a short story illustrating what’s behind the portrait. The resulting work and stories demand the viewer to gaze deeper into the life of the subject, as well as the moment in which the subject has been captured.


“Vers Le Tableau”
Pierre Dunoyer
Jean-Paul Najar Foundation
Warehouse 45, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE
13 September – 26 October 2017

The Jean-Paul Najar Foundation is pleased to announce, Vers le tableau, an exhibition featuring major works by French artist Pierre Dunoyer.

Vers le tableau explores Pierre Dunoyer’s deep seeded interest in abstraction, one that is based on the concept of the tableau. Central to his approach, Dunoyer differentiates between ‘tableau’ and ‘painting’: tableau for him is the end result of painting one that not only questions the basic elements of abstraction but examines collective and universal concerns. Through composition, color, form and movement, Dunoyer’s path to abstraction is steeped in art history, philosophy and the humanities. The exhibition includes painting and drawings starting from the late 1970s to present day.


Project Space
Maha Maamoun
Art Jameel
Warehouse 48, The Yard, Alserkal Avenue
Saturday to Thursday from 10:00am – 6:00pm

In 2017, Art Jameel began an institutional partnership with The Met aiming to raise the profile of contemporary Middle Eastern artists and increase international dialogue. Maha Maamoun’s video and photo series featured in this exhibition were the first works to be acquired by the New York museum through this collaboration. 2026 overlaps a remake of the memorable image of the time traveller in Chris Marker’s La Jetée with an excerpt from a contemporary science-fiction Egyptian novel titled The Revolution of 2053: The Beginning. 2026 runs on an eternal loop and is composed of different pictorial and textual sources that keep running back to the zero hour where the future is on repeat. The four-part series Domestic Tourism I is inspired by generic and idealized images of Egypt, whether promotional touristic images or in Egyptian cinema. These images are presented through four motifs: Park, Beach, Cairo by Night, and Felluca.


“The Line of March”
Pouran Jinchi
The Third Line
Street 8, Al Quoz 1, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, UAE
13 September – 21 October 2017

The Third Line is proud to present The Line of March, a solo exhibition by New York-based artist Pouran Jinchi. With her new body of work, Pouran returns to a fundamental preoccupation—the parallels between art and language as modes of communication—while extending her artistic expression in new directions. The artist quietly inventories the unspoken traces of endless wars, perpetual conflict, and pervasive militarism. For months, she has been pouring over documents on the visual apparatus of military power, noting the discreet ways these tonalities seep into culture. From Morse code and phonetic alphabets to military insignia and medals, from war paint to camouflage, Pouran takes stock of a pervasive military aesthetic.

Her research extends to the ways military jargon permeates our common language, jotting notes in her notebooks—deployed, regimented, cypher, war of words, occupied. All of it becomes source material for her artworks. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a painting by the 18th century French artist Jean-Antoine Watteau, who depicted the lives of common soldiers in times of war. Pouran studied photographs of the German city of Koblenz, where architectural fragments that remain from the destruction of WWII have been integrated into modern architecture. She unearthed a black and white photograph from 1920s Leningrad showing Soviet chess masters playing the game on a massive chessboard at the Palace Square using soldiers from the Red Army as the black pieces and sailors from the navy for the white pieces.


“Liquid States”
M. Pravat
1 x 1 Gallery
Warehouse # 4, Plot # 364-22 Al Marabea’ St, Dubai, UAE
13 September – 31 October 2017

Liquid States follows from Pravat’s long ongoing engagement with the fluctuating optics and fluid materialities of architectural forms and built environments of today. His practice over the years has been an unceasing curiosity and experimentation with the very elements that constitute our experience of architecture. Space, enclosures, material densities, different kinds of opacities and porosities, circulations and flows, the wear and tear of things, and multiple kinds of accumulation have been some of the most recurring preoccupations in Pravat’s work.

Given how society’s relationship with space, environment and built structures changes from place to place, his practice has been a constant process of testing, adapting and reworking objects, images, and spaces of his immediate surroundings ranging from his own studio, to abandoned buildings, to museums, and outdoor spaces. Pravat’s latest series of works include sculptures, paintings, drawings and collages that emerge out of ideas he has been testing in his studio for over four years. Across 180 new artworks, Liquid States will bring together a condensed experience of a world where geometries are inverted and the solid, liquid and gaseous become interchangeable states. On the shifting sands and rising tides in the Gulf, we cannot be more pleased to have this exhibition open the new season.

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