Lamya Gargash, Abdulnasser Gharem, Ramin Haerizadeh & Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian, Layla Juma, Mohammed Kazem, Radhika Khimji, Maha Malluh, Ahmed Mater, Alfred Tarazi
Kader Attia, Man in Front of the Sea, 2009, light box, 146 x 181 x 17 cmCredits: courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist.
Krinzinger Schottenfeld decided to develop an exhibition for the annual curated by festival, which underlines a deep research on the artists and their practice in the Middle East. This is justified by 15 years of strong presence of the Galerie Krinzinger not only in the yearly Art Dubai Fair, but also by continuous visits of the MENA-Region and contact with the local artists, who then successfully joined the gallery program. Gallery Krinzinger invited curator Verena Formanek, as she has knowledge and expertise in these regards and has an extensive experience in working in Abu Dhabi and the rest of the Middle East. This exhibition presents artists from the Arabian Peninsula who focus on the topic of orientation, camouflage, and identity. The objectives of mounting this exhibition in the Gallery Krinzinger Schottenfeld, Vienna, are two-fold: showcasing the context of what constitutes contemporary art history in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as for the United Arab Emirates, Reem Fadda mentioned once:” …to establish a framework for understanding the links between the artistic practices of the past generations of contemporary artists in the United Arab Emirates and balance them with the current artistic themes relevant for the Gulf region.”
Maha Malluh, Screened (from the series: Tradition & Modernity), 2010, c-print, c-print in light box John Jones London, 125 x 158 cmCredits: Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist.
Secondly, discussing first the exhibition concept regarding the impulse essay “The Neutral’ with a curator, born in the Emirates and living between two worlds (as most of her generation in the gulf), France and the United Arab Emirates: Alia Zaal. She connects her work with the tradition in the UAE, represented by her father, an artist, and explains: “My work has been inspired by my father’s weak eyesight and therefore he was forced to approach art differently, paying a lot of attention to detail”. During her residency in France she responded to Impressionism, studying the natural landscapes of Vétheuil, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, both in their natural and artificial ecosystems, finding connections between her own UAE landscape and the impressionist one.
Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Haerizadeh, Where To? Wherever It Chances, 2019, collage, acrylic and gouache on paper, 55 x 75 cmCredits: Courtesy of Galerie Krinzinger and the artist.
We decided to showcase following artists with artworks encompassing the reflection about how to find your way, your directions in a theme of Neutrality. The theme The Neutral raises questions a.o. of passivity or activity and how you should find your way in this complexity of questions? Therefore, the artists in this exhibition are searching for their ways.
Abdulnasser Gharem, Al-Siraat (The Path), 2011-2012, silkscreen on paper, 129.5 x 180 cmCredits: Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist.
For continuing and finding his way the artist Mohamed Kazem is represented with his exceptional artwork “Direction (Steps), 2011-2013” and in “Photographs with a Flag, 1997”, which documents his famous performance. In “Collecting Light, 2021” not only the visual appearance is to be seen in his scratching papers but also the sound of the scissors is sculpted on the surface of the paper. While creating the scratches in/on the white paper surface, the artwork can be seen as a two-dimensional work: sculpture, drawing and sound.
Alfred Tarazi, Memorial, 2013, mixed media on paper, plexi box, steel, 45 x 100 x 10 cmCredits: Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist.
Interdisciplinary Emirati artist Layla Juma utilises geometric shapes, in this case circular and elliptical designs, to convey ideas of form and sequence in striking, rhythmic works of art. Her repetitive use of circles and lines evokes abstract contemporary images of (social) codes representing different aspects within a society.
Radhika Khimji, A slight adjustment, 2019, oil and gesso, photo transfer on paper, 174 x 114 cmCredits: Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist.
Themes that are raised in Juma’s work are reminiscent of the artist Hassan Sharif’s(+2016) interest in combining drawing, performance, movement and construction in his work, as well as Kazem’s examination of natural processes and social identity. She scrutinises everyday lines and shapes, often dissecting them into pieces and re-assembling them.
Layla Juma, Triangles - Composition (3), 2022, Marker on paper, 20.3 cm x 15.2 cm (unframed)Credits: COURTESY AISHA ALABBAR GALLERY, DUBAI
The collective work of this generation, which is more or less the age of the UAE itself, gives the place depth and imagination, and more trenchantly, a past and a future, both of which are usually absent from the standard-issue stories on art in the Gulf. Nothing exemplifies this better than the work of Lamya Gargash: her Presence series, which was exhibited a year ago in the labyrinthine Bastakiya district, is a catalogue of derelict domestic spaces in Sharjah, Dubai and Ajman, each image capturing a room either abandoned or soon to be so. Lamya Gargash search for the traces of her history, her parents’ life, and former culture of her country.
Mohammed Kazem, Directions Triangle, 2006 Sequins on textiles 112.5 x 119.5 cmCredits: Courtesy GALLERY ISABELLE VAN DEN EYNDE, Dubai.
Lamya Gargash, Family Still Life in Old Family Home, 2023, C-type Print, 80 x 80 cmCredits: Image Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line, Dubai.