Under Construction: Hamra Abbas | Mounir Fatmi | Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim | Nadia Kaabi-Linke | Driss Ouadahi | Nathaniel Rackowe

31 May - 30 June 2021
  • 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).

  • Driss Ouadahi, Laisse Béton, 2014

    Driss Ouadahi

    Laisse Béton, 2014

    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.  Ouadahi takes as his subject matter the built environment of urban alienation - sterile modernist public housing developments, wire netting and underground passageways. He paints works of paradoxical beauty using this stark urbanism as his springboard. Persistent in each of his works are his core concerns of geometric abstraction, transparency and the implication of the veil.  His large formal landscapes are montages of spaces and places he knows, with human-scale details often omitted.

  • Driss Ouadahi, Crystal I, 2014
  • Nathaniel Rackowe, Pathfinding, 2008

    Nathaniel Rackowe

    Pathfinding, 2008

    Recreated for the exhibition is Nathaniel Rackowe's floor sculpture Pathfinding - an artwork closely related to his current installation throughout Alserkal Avenue, Luminous Territory. Central to this work is the idea of locating and tracking - activities that are both preliminary and responsive. Rackowe is bringing the viewer to a site of split aspect, a point of binary code. Pathfinding is implicit of the ‘I’ of the author, it places the artist at the scene of his own work, denoting the continual present of activity, while drawing to the fore the wider agenda of terrain forged externally, the coexistent landscape of marks, objects and ideas that belong to the history of art; outcomes that act as points of demarcation, systems of reference and location through which tracking can be achieved.

  • Installation view of 'Under Construction', Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2021
  • Nathaniel Rackowe, Dubai (5&7), 2014

    Nathaniel Rackowe

    Dubai (5&7), 2014

    Contrasts of light and shade inform Rackowe's series of bitumen paintings. On the reverse of the welded steel frame he sprays acid yellow or warm red, which creates a visible glow around the works and adds to the objects three-dimensional quality. The images in this series are true compositions selected from hundreds of photographs he took of Dubai in May 2014, driving through diverse areas of the city - industrial, historic, tourist, business, retail - fascinated by the way the city has changed since his first visit in 1999. Bitumen, a type of oil, is applied to honeycombed card, which gives depth and a raw edge to the works. The aspect ratio of the painting’s size is always 2:1, reminiscent of a cinema screen, which gives a stretched perspective - also perhaps the view from a car window.

  • Installation view of 'Under Construction', Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2021
  • Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Tower Blocks #2, 2016

    Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim

    Tower Blocks #2, 2016

    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. Ibrahim’s interest in the ‘line’, black or white typographical lines that are reminiscent of ancient cave markings or ancient numeric systems, can be traced back to the early 1990s, and derives from his fascination with the rustic landscape of his home environment and the changes that have come about through its urbanisation. The artist’s early childhood memories are of markings on the external walls of homes in his hometown where single lines were made to indicate the number of water bottles delivered by the local water supplier. Leaving an imprint on his memory, these repeated lines have become the backbone of Ibrahim’s practice, emerging regularly in his paintings, drawings and sculptures.

    • Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Tower Blocks , 2016
      Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Tower Blocks , 2016
    • Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Untitled, 2016
      Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Untitled, 2016
    • Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Tower Blocks #1, 2015
      Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Tower Blocks #1, 2015
  • Installation view of 'Under Construction', Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2021
  • Hamra Abbas, Open Cube: After LeWitt 6, 2019

    Hamra Abbas

    Open Cube: After LeWitt 6, 2019

    Hamra Abbas’ series of marble ‘drawings’ entitled Open Cube: After LeWitt appropriate LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cube drawings in which he identified 122 unique variations of an incomplete cube. It was Abbas’ encounter with these works at LeWitt’s emblematic retrospective at MASS MoCA in 2016 that provided her with new insights into her own practice, specifically with regard to his treatment of the cube and his explorations of colour.  Abbas draws upon this intimate encounter, incorporating her understanding and experience into her own personal language - inlaying the broken forms with jet black marble, adding density to the shapes and reinstating her fascination with the colour black.

  • Hamra Abbas, Open Cube: After LeWitt 2, 2019


    CIRCLES 02, 2011

    Mounir Fatmi’s Circles 2 weaves together several layers. This sculpture in coaxial antenna cables and the series Kissing Circles from which it is derived, is an interpretation of the geometric circle in a virtual poetry. Fascinated by the shape of the circle and the Descartes theorem on tangent circles, Mounir Fatmi created this body of work through an interpretation by Frederick Soddy of those circles in his poem, The Kiss Precise. For Mounir Fatmi, the circular shape goes from geometry to the spiritual and functions as an illusion of displacement in space and time. It is about turning around and getting lost in a kinetic illusion. Fatmi’s interest in obsolete technologies used for the propagation of ideology and data is 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.

  • Installation view of 'Under Construction', Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2021
  • Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Jins Al Latif, 2018

    Nadia Kaabi-Linke

    Jins Al Latif, 2018

    Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s Jins Al Latif  (The Gentle Sex) is 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). Spelling out in Arabic the gentle sex or ‘kind sex’, it comments on the implausibility of such hazardous steel instruments being used for beauty care, and the efforts required to construct and maintain appearance.