Lawrie Shabibi is delighted to return to the Dallas Art Fair, our second showing in Dallas. The booth will feature a presentation of six artists – Mounir Fatmi, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Nabil Nahas, Shahpour Pouyan, Asad Faulwell and Farhad Ahrarnia.
At Dallas Art Fair we will be showing two works by Mounir Fatmi – a sculpture, Kissing Circles 09 and a photograph, Casablanca Circles. Between them, Fatmi unearths the dual nature of cinema and media culture - how it both circumscribes and enables what we see and feel. Fatmi’s sculptures often make use of obsolete technologies- co-axial antenna cables, copier machines, and VHS tapes. Kissing Circles 09 is a bas-relief made of co-axial antenna cables. Fatmi is fascinated by the tangential circles of Descartes, a geometrical theorem through which one can construct a fourth circle tangential to three given, mutually tangential circles, and “Kissing Precise” by British radio-chemist Frederick Soddy, which restates this is poetic form. For Fatmi, the circular shape goes from geometry to the spiritual and function as an illusion of displacement in space and time. It is about turning around and get lost in a kinetic illusion.
Casablanca Circles is a series of drawings done on photographs taken from an excerpt from the movie Casablanca of the final kiss Bogart and Bergman. The tangent circles of Descartes and Soddy are drawn on the pictures of the two main characters as they move closer to kiss. This infinity of circles raises the viewer's desire and we in turn project our hope to see both actors united. The movie refers to the Moroccan city Casablanca, occupied by the French Vichy government during the WWII, although the sets were built in Hollywood. Those two lives of the city, the real and the fictional, disorient even the Moroccans and push the tourists to look for the Rick's Café and the other locations of the movie.
Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s second participation at DAF follows her solo exhibition at Dallas Contemporary in 2015 and the acquisition of her sculpture Tunisian Americans by the Dalllas Museum of Art last year. Her work is related to places and their histories; it is time-specific and site-specific. In Dallas this year we will be presenting two works, Bricks, a wall-based piece made from prints transferred from the surface of a Berlin wall, and K, a study on Plexiglas for an 11 piece installation acquired by MoMA, New York.
Much of Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s works are about historical echoes and unintended reminders. Using an almost forensic treatment of the past, she brings historical events and attitudes to the present, suggesting that what happened before can still be relevant today. Bricks is a collage of several transfer prints taken from an outside wall of the Bethlehem Cemetery in Berlin-Kreuzberg, a place with a chequered past.
In K Kaabi-Linke takes inspiration from the forgotten or misused urban spaces around her. In this work she has captured the graffiti and other markings found on bus shelters and subway stations in Berlin, where she currently resides. Kaabi-Linke records the marred and altered surfaces of these transit depots using forensic dusting powder, typically employed to gather fingerprints at a crime scene. She dusts the surface with the powder then picks up the residue with a film liner and transfers the visual traces onto sheets of Plexiglas, creating ghostly images of the original surfaces.
Los Angeles based Asad Faulwell has been working on a series entitled Les Femmes D’Algers for the past few years, an homage to the forgotten Algerian women who fought alongside their male counterparts in the war of independence from French occupation between 1954-1962. His works are intricately produced and poetic collaged paintings of these unique women are based on photographs taken during their lifetimes. The repetition of images and the quasi-religious imagery he employs give the series the air of devotional shrines whilst the brightly coloured, elaborate, repetitive arrangements are reminiscent both of Henri Matisse’s decorative patterning as well as Faulwell’s own Iranian tradition of geometric design.
Shahpour Pouyan presents After ‘Anushirvan, His Ministers and Buzurgmihr in Conversation’, an illustration that has been reworked from a celebrated Persian manuscript, editing out the details which are mythological, anachronistic or since vanished, updating it for a present-day Iran. Kings, queens, princes and princesses, djinn, heroes and wild beasts such as lions and tigers are eradicated from the image, whilst architecture and animals remain. Such is the appearance of Iran today - stripped of such characters yet with remnants of the past. Having been commissioned by kings and princes to reinforce hierarchal narratives in society, Pouyan’s assertion is that instead it is the story of the superiority of tradition and patterns of life over the individual. If in the miniatures, the man is present to depict a pre-determined story, ideological power today places the subject into a pre-established context. By removing the figures, Pouyan exposes the void which is camouflaged by the aesthetics of this miniature: the sublime camouflaged by the beautiful. By disrupting the apparently perfect interlocking subject and context, the context itself comes to the fore, with all its details, beauty and authority.
Farhad Ahrarnia’s Khatam-based works employ a Persian decorative craft form to explore modernism and constructivism. Khatam is a form of micro-mosaic used decoratively to embellish domestic objects. Individual strings of long thin filaments made from organic materials such as bone, wood, and copper, silver and brass are methodically grouped together, then cut at the cross section to reveal strips of complex geometric compositions. Ahrarnia’s interest in exploring the Khatam marquetry as a mark-making medium combines an aesthetic tradition and applies it to seminal 20th century Modernist works. For Dallas we will show works where appropriates Modernist and Constructivist paintings by Max Bill, EL Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich as a blueprint from which to lay out the mosaics.
Finally, we will show a new work by Nabil Nahas, Lebanon's most renowned living painter. Nahas has been resident New since the early 1970s and his work found in collections such as The Met, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Tate Modern and the British Museum. Nahas takes his inspiration from a diverse range of influences, most significantly nature, and occasionally Islamic art, in particular its abstract geometric and chromatic qualities. Nahas will show a new work from his Fractal series, a large-scale canvas composed of layer upon layer of protruding biomorphic shapes, its surface imitating the encrustations seen in the natural world.
For the press release, click here.