The title of Nicky Nodjoumi’s latest body of work expresses, in just one word, both the technical elements of his practice and the conceptual threads. Fractures refers to the physical process of painting, where he has used found images to make collages, that have been torn apart and put back together, with deliberate ruptures and breaks as well as the precarious nature of living under dogmatic regimes of political power that, whether in the East or the West, make playthings of the common man.

Field Report, 2018, oil on canvas, 178x127cm

Iranian-born, New York-based Nodjoumi has exhibited widely across the world, yet this is his first UAE exhibition since 2010 and his first with Third Line. Curated by Media FArzin for Bidoun, it is clear in this show that Nodjoumi is primarily concerned with a painterly approach, but his subject matter is one that criticises with satire and playful humour the theatrical nature of politics. His central protagonists are men. Men in suits from the corporate or political world, some identifiable: George Bush, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and some faceless or dressed in masks, who simply represent notions of power as well as the insincerity of those who wield that power. In most of the paintings, he has sliced his characters up and played with scale and size as a way of undermining them and provoking the viewer to consider his message. In some, issues of the environment and nuclear power are brought to the forefront and in others, he uses technical devices such as the chequered pattern of the harlequin from the Italian Commedia dell’arte to drive his point home.

An Expression of Multi-identities, 2016, oil on canvas, 178x127cm

Although the exhibition brings together pieces from several different series, Nodjoumi’s world unravels into an absurd space where different narratives hide behind or in between several layers.


The Third Line, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Until July 31