All posts filed under: Art

Re-Possessing a Funktioning Utopia

FN stumbled across a great little exhibition at the weekend whilst wandering around the Sharjah Art Foundations new galleries: Chaos into Clarity: Re-Possessing a Funktioning Utopia. The curator, Shannon Ayers Holden, investigates the Aesthetic of Funk through an exploration of the radical power of transformation, the theme of transcendence and the presentation of a new world material culture as seen through the works of three artists from the African Diaspora. American textile artist Xenobia Bailey, Moroccan born photographer and designer Hassan Hajjaj and British Trinidadian filmmaker and sculptor Zak Ove, FN has wanted to see some of his work for while. This was so good, that we wish there could have been more – further work, a  catalogue and a longer essay by the curator. Within the context of the UAE, a nation of flux and rapid change, it was enriching to see ‘work that can encompass both the presence of the past and a sense of clarity for the present.’ (Chris Lord) Shannon Ayers Holden is a resident of Dubai, we look forward to …

On the verge of disappearing: Francesca Woodman’s self-portraits

FN is often coming back to the work of Francesca Woodman.  She was an American photographer best known for her black and white pictures featuring herself and female models. Many of her photographs show young women who are nude, blurred (due to movement and long exposure times), merging with their surroundings, or whose faces are obscured. Her work continues to be the subject of much critical acclaim and attention, years after she committed suicide at the age of 22. FN also really likes her video work – but it’s hard to find places to view it. There’s this one film on youtube – a work I remember seeing at the 4th Berlin Biennial, the year it was curated by The Wrong Gallery trio: Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick. Although Woodman used different cameras and film formats during her career, most of her photographs were taken with medium format cameras producing 2-1/4 by 2-1/4 inch (5.7 by 5.7 cm) square negatives. Woodman created at least 10,000 negatives, which her parents now keep. Woodman’s estate, which is …

REPRESENT III – Hamra Abbas

Hamra Abbas represented by Lawrie Shabibi Hamra Abbas’s work is playful and unpredictable, it has a definite presence, but is so versatile that it is hard to pin down exactly what it is about an Abbas work that tells you it is hers. Fat Nancy takes a look at why she likes it so much. Firstly and overarching, Abbas’s work is pure. In its use of colour, its concepts and humour, she sticks to absolute and direct messaging. The colours she uses are sharp, clear and translucent, even when used in prints. They remind FN of David Batchelor’s works, often managing to bring a similar brightness to the fore without the need for artificial light, using instead natural light, colour on paper, on glass, with food colouring in plasticine, as a tool to manipulate and reflect the intensity she desires. Abbas’s life, and consequently her work, could be said to be somewhat fractured – coming from Pakistan and a deeply Islamic community and now living and working in the USA. Perhaps it is this contradiction that makes it addictively erratic, fickle and playfully …

REPRESENTED II – Mehreen Murtaza

Artist Mehreen Murtaza – represented by Grey Noise Mehreen Murtaza’s visual narratives intertwine a traditional context with popular culture. Taking their imagery from both Sufi culture and the skewed logic of science fiction, her labour-intensive digital collages are a virtual world that fuses the natural with the mechanical, where technology plays the role of challenging religious myth, superstition and ritual. Found images – sourced from print, digital and electronic media – come together in her work to form intriguing collages. Lawyers assemble on streets amid a burst of sinister red; a Big Brother-like figure watches the goings-on from the heavens; and a superhero takes flight into a great gig in the sky. Those who are aware of political and social upheavals in Pakistan will find enough resonances in Murtaza’s work without being oppressed by the obvious. Murtaza’s work draws on Stuckist and Pop Art influences, Richard Hamilton in particular, with an absorption of the nuances of indigenous iconography –  miniature painting, film posters and Truck Art imagery of Pakistan. Her work also reminds Fat Nancy …