Art can probe, it can provoke, it can soothe and it can question. It can be physically present or intangible, it is what is experienced by those who come in contact with it equally as it is what its creator intended on. It remains alive way after the creating body has passed on. It can surprise you by bypassing the thinking mind and move you. Could we even go as far as to say that art is powerful? The interesting question is... what to do with that power...?
a visual art exhibition about going beyond boundaries
We are all on a personal journey, where we are now and where we would like to get to. The interesting part is the state of in between, the crossing over, the spaces and places we go through in order to get somewhere better. The types of boundaries addressed in the show range from cultural to physical to the psychological. The show embraces the many mediums art can take, from painting to video, sculpture and installation.
The Saatchi Gallery Education Room, Duke of York Square London SW3 4RY June 2015
Exhibiting Artists: Samin Ahmadzadeh Asmaa Alanbari Cecile Emmanuelle Borra Rafael Blasco Ciscar Marilyn Collins Flora Deborah Tom Gal Eden Lazaness Laura Solomons Anne White
Curation: Asmaa Alanbari, Eden Lazaness Artistic Direction: Asmaa Alanbari
A few words from Asmaa Alanbari
Artistic Director and Co-curator
The vision of the show in between came naturally as often I find myself identifying with very contrasting people, ideas and points of view. I have come to realize that identity does not have to be rigid, that sometimes it is in a state of flux. It is ok to be divided, to contradict oneself, to belong to dissimilar cultures and social classes, to simply not conform.
detail view from Fertile Crescent Asmaa Alanbari (right)
The works of art were chosen for their manner of interpreting the theme of in between. The result is a sensorial experience where visual, tactile, and musical stimuli are in composition. Together, they converse in dialogue with the natural and artifical light, as well as with the various architectural aspects of the exhibition space.
clockwise left image Silk and Dirt, Asmaa Alanbari Midrash, Tom Gal Hold Me, Laura Solomons Transfiguration of a Tribe, Eden Lazaness Kaleidoscope, Cecile Emmanuelle Borra Bedrock III, Rafael Blasco Ciscar right image: private view of the show
Rafael Blasco Ciscar’s Bedrock III connects with the theme of “in between” because of its almost alive quality. It is in between being a piece of cold metal and concrete and being an alien creation.
Rafael Blasco Ciscar Bedrock III (right) detail (left) Reinforced concrete, steel 116cm x 85cm x 21cm
...the curious couple To place the artwork of an Arab side by side to the work of an Israeli is to draw attention to the (current) inability to coexist in the Middle East, at least not in a sustainable manner. It is about linking, albeit in an abstract manner, what is happening in that part of the world with the present moment here in London. It is easier to forget than to be present with the uncomfortable. It is left up to the viewer to reflect, and to delve into each piece of work individually and as part of this curious couple. In each of the works, the artists are criticising how their respective societies are governed.
Silk and Dirt, Asmaa Alanbari (left) Midrashei Tom Gal (right)
Silk and Dirt is about propriety in culture and social class. Asmaa Alanbari addresses the universal need to hide and polish the unshowable, the unspeakable but very real parts of our lives. The stapled mask and silk veil are metaphors for conventional standards that allow some people to fit in and others not to. The interplay of mud and silk is a metaphor for the social pressures society imposes on us in order to be perceived well. A sown up hole in the bottom of the silk veil evokes the pressures on some women in traditional societies to be virgins at the time of marriage.
Asmaa Alanbari Silk and Dirt (right) detail (left) Mixed media & acrylic on canvas: earth from Iraq, newspaper, carton, silk, thread, ink, staples 154cm X 126 cm
In his work Midrash Tmuna Tom Gal uses text as the starting point of the art work. Using single rabbinic text papers as the core of the works allows Gal to relate to matters of utmost importance to Judaism, in spirit and in visual presence. Israeli born, Galâ€™s work is a true representation of his paradoxical culture, liberal and secular though rooted in Jewish heritage.
Tom Gal Midrash Tmuna (right) detail (left) Ink and paper cuts on Talmud (Rabbinic text) pages Four pieces, 42.5cm x 28.5cm each
The show includes a number of works that explore the notion of identity, mostly from the perspective of the feminine gender. The art shown tells the stories of several women, which is an important act in itself as we are still in a society where the majority of images depicting women are designed to accomodate the male gaze. These portraits are free from stereotypes and invite the viewer to delve into the personal story of the women depicted.
Horizontal Herstory, Marilyn Collins (left) Eden, Eden Lazaness (centre) Memento I , Samin Ahmadzadeh ( right)
xxx by Marylin Collins, xxx by Eden Lazaness, xxx by Samin Ahmadzade
Hebrew and English writing of the artist’s name make up the body of Eden Lazaness’ ןדעEden, the artist’s self-portrait. The mindful decision of stamping a rubber stamp repeatedly brings to mind thoughts about bureaucracy, power and culture. Although both the Hebrew and English names represent the same person, they do not have the same meaning in the Christian European culture where she is based today, and in the Hebrew Israeli culture where she was born.
Eden Lazaness ןדעEden (right) detail (left) Ink and ribber stamps on paper 80.4cm x 56.9cm
Horizontal Herstory by Marilyn Collins confronts the viewer with a fearless female figure absorbed in an emotional experience. There is a truthfulness in the work, mainly spoken by the figureâ€™s posture and expression, and exposed genitalia. The rawness of the work is considered here as a quality, and is a validation of the nude female body, in its entirety, as a vehicle of self expression.
Marilyn Collins Horizontal Herstory (right) detail (left) Ceramic and steel armature 40cm x 160cm x 120cm
Samin Ahmadzadehâ€™s Memento series alludes to the artistsâ€™s origins, specifically the British and Iranian nationalities of her father. Here, an old picture is interwoven with an envelope. The resultant fabric is a new piece of memory, in a series that repeats the same action and forms an emotional process. Identity is explored and questioned, looking back to the past as well as purposely forming new life elsewhere.
Samin Ahmadzadeh Memento I (left) Memento VI (right) detail Weaved laser print photographs 17.5cm x 19cm
Hair Line Crack, Anne White (left page) Hold Me, Laura Solomons (right page, left ) Transfiguration of a Tribe, Eden Lazaness (right page, right)
...kindle the publicâ€™s interest in art by making it more accessible The conventional boundaries of public interaction in galleries and museums are transgressed here. Visitors can reflect on the artwork on the walls or wander around the three dimensional pieces visible from many angles. They can touch or choose to pick up some of the sculptures while listening to the accompanying music of the video projection.
Hair Line Crack by Anne White addresses the in between because of its capacity to anthropomorphize an ordinary everyday object, the dinner plate. Its innate level of tension speaks in a language of its own. Fragility and violence inhabit together the piece depicting a state of emotion that is very personal yet universal to the human psyche.
Anne White Hair Line Crack (right) detail (left) Ceramic plate and nylon fibers 2cm x 22cm x 22cm
Hold Me by Laura Solomons is an installation that invites the viewer to cross common art gallery boundaries and sense the work of art in tangible means. Visitors are invited to touch, hold and closely examine the sculptural installation, thus encouraging a more engaged and intimate opportunity to understand the artistâ€™s approach towards our physicality, sexuality and vulnerability.
Laura Solomons Hold Me (right) Installation alternative view (left) Glass and plaster Variable sizes
Transfiguration of a Tribe is another work of Eden Lazaness with which she explores multiculturalism. Here she transforms the African horn, commonly known as the Vuvuzela, into a couple of candle sticks â€“ retaining the objectâ€™s social role in a new culture simply by changing its material.
Eden Lazaness Transfiguration of a Tribe (right) detail (left) Bronze cast Two pieces, 80cm x 20cm x 20cm each
In Fertile Crescent Asmaa Alanbari combines text and political imagery to depict the intangible influences that inhabit the human body. The figure bears witness and is a recording of the current affairs of our time. Her pelvic area acknowledges the destruction of ancient works of art whether by the US-Iraq wars (1992, 2003), the many atacks of the so called “Islamic State” (ongoing) and the bombing of the Bardo museum in Tunisia (2015). For eg, the figure’s breast is depicted with a letter published in Le Monde, the day after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris (2015). It is written by the film director Luc Besson and is an expression of sorrow that Islam’s name is being used to further the political aims of so many extremist groups.
Asmaa Alanbari Fertile Crescent (right) detail of pelvic area (left) Mixed media on canvas 126cm X 154 cm
In Cecil Emmanuelle Borraâ€™s Kaleidoscope, a moving pattern slowly and gently reveals itself as a landscape of multicoloured penises. The illusionary effects of the kaleidoscope lens offer a cyclical metamorphosis of the male genitalia that ambiguously refuse any systematic categorisation or coherent recognition. Brief moments of visual hostility gradually turn into curiosity and to some extent voyeurism. An intriguing spectacle of revolving penises competing for attention is also a satire on the imagery of womenâ€™s bodies commonly flaunted for their sexual appeal, or hung on walls to decorate walls. The work intends to challenge current expectations surrounding the representation of the male body by seeking to seduce the viewers (female and male) into a contemplative gaze and sensuous visual embrace that is traditionally associated with the female figure.
Cecile Emmanuelle Borra Kaleidoscope (right) alternative view (left) Video projection, 7.20 min Variable sizes
Flora Deborahâ€™s Viscere is a mixed media work that brings together the traditionally female activity of knitting with a nude figure in order to subvert sterotypes around the female figure. The clash between the nude, pure and glorified female figure and the blooded string and needle is a delicate and fresh feminist declaration. Plastic surgery or everyday sewing, this work deals with female body and status transfiguration referring to the perception of the feminine.
Flora Deborah Viscere photographic series (right) detail (left) Gelatin silver print, thread, needles, blood Five pieces, 25.4cm x 20.32cm each
Asmaa Alanbari www.babylon-art.com
Eden Lazaness www.lazaness.com
with gratitude to:
Saatchi Gallery Education: Charles Saatchi & Rozzen Logan photo credits courtesy of the artists and Daniel Gal installation Paul Murphy
Published on Sep 28, 2016
Catalogue detailing the ideas and works exhibited at the fine art exhibition "In Between", June 2015 at Saatchi Gallery London.