Under Construction, a group exhibition held in two parts, presents a series of incomplete, evolving, overlapping, paradoxical concepts - building structures, formulating symbols, manufacturing appearance, fabricating histories and reconstituting anatomies. The first iteration features works by Hamra Abbas (b. 1976, Kuwait), Mounir Fatmi (b. 197, Morocco), Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim (b. 1962, UAE), Nadia Kaabi-Linke (b. 1978, Tunisia), Driss Ouadahi (b. 1959, Morocco) and Nathaniel Rackowe (b. 1975, UK).
The exhibition includes artworks by Driss Ouadahi and Nathaniel Rackowe, both inspired following separate visits to Dubai in the midst of the construction boom of the last decade. Ouadahi’s Laisse Béton (Let It Go) is part of a series modelled on impressions of Dubai, from various photographs meshed with images from his memory.
Rackowe's bitumen paintings are studies of light and shadows, the compositions selected from hundreds of photographs taken while driving through diverse areas of Dubai in May 2014. Recreated for the exhibition, his floor sculpture Pathfinding is closely related to Luminous Territory - Rackowe's current installation throughout Alserkal Avenue - and the artwork featured on Lawrie Shabibi’s facade.
A broader sense of construction runs through the other works in the exhibition. Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim presents a selection of assemblage and papier maché wall sculptures that stem from his Line series of paintings. Executed in black and white the works recall road markings, derived from his number system based on tally charts.
Hamra Abbas’ series of marble ‘drawings’ entitled Open Cube: After LeWitt appropriate LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cube drawings. In contrast to his works, however, Abbas inlays the broken forms with jet black marble, adding density to the shapes and reinstating her fascination with the colour black.
Mounir Fatmi’s Circles 2 weaves together several layers: the Cartesian geometric theorem determining the points at which circles ‘kiss’ or touch one another, that inspired The Kissing Precise, a poem by Frederick Soddy; Fatmi’s interest in obsolete technologies used for the propagation of ideology and data, seen here in his use of co-axial antenna cables; and, the deconstruction of strict notions of ‘painting’, ‘drawing’ and sculpture using his signature medium.
Finally, Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s Jins Al Latif (The Gentle Sex), made from hundreds of sets of manicure and pedicure instruments, and arranged as an inscription in square Kufic (an ornamental Arabic script often found in monumental architecture), comments on the implausibility of such hazardous steel instruments being used for beauty care, and the efforts required to construct and maintain appearance.