Art Jameel announced the launch of its second Collection Focus featuring a major body of work titled Alif Beh by Egyptian artist Hazem El-Mestikawy, opening on Monday 22 May with a tour by the artist and running until Saturday 22 July.
The exhibition opens as part of a series from the Jameel Art Collection’s key installations ahead of the opening of the Jameel Arts Centre, a non-profit contemporary arts institution in Cultural Village, Al Jadaf, Dubai in winter of 2018.
The installation will be displayed at Project Space Art Jameel, a temporary art space supported by Alserkal Avenue in Dubai.
Alif Beh is a sculptural installation comprised of 60 works made over a three year period from 2006 to 2009. The installation was exhibited in 2009 at Galerie Atrium ed Arte in Vienna, Austria.
According to the official press release, the installation spotlights 30 Arabic letters presented in El-Mestikawy’s style, which is “based on the principle of duality and oscillates between the positive and the negative, lightness and heaviness, light and shadow.”
The sculptures are shown in a similar dichotomy through pieces that are “suspended and placed on the floor” across from each other and are “accompanied by a set of drawings, that act in part as a study for the installation.”
“With flawless precision and a geometric complexity” El-Mestikawy “carefully overlaps and arranges different sections or modules and ultimately locks or glues them together, like a puzzle, to create a homogeneous unity,” the press release states.
Art Jameel’s official website cites the installation as a prime example of El-Mestikawy’s capacity to transform everyday materials into complex works that reference science, maths and physics. Alif Beh is a “study in form, and is drawn from a reduction in geometric forms and letters to create two distinct perspectives: the cityscape and the mashrabiya.”
As stated in the press release, “El-Mestikawy cites both aesthetic and environmental reasons for his choice of material.”
“I love the construction, and I love the hollowness. I love that the work appears so solid and yet is very light and easy to pack and carry. I sometimes make huge exhibitions that come out of a very small box. I love the shock on curators’ faces when I open my bag and start pulling the pieces out," he says.
Project Space Art Jameel’s first Collection Focus featured a five channel video installation by artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme.
Art Jameel is a non-profit organisation that works to support artists and build open, connected creative communities across the Middle East.
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