We welcome back Düsseldorf-based painter Driss Ouadahi for Extra Muros (outside the walls), his third solo at the gallery, with a series of new paintings, which mark a departure from
We welcome back Düsseldorf-based painter Driss Ouadahi for Extra Muros (outside the walls), his third solo at the gallery, with a series of new paintings, which mark a departure from his work of the last decade, alongside earlier paintings that show his trajectory over the last decade and a half. Whilst Ouadahi’s earlier works (shown in the two previous exhibitions at the gallery) demonstrate social and political concerns, his new works shift from social structures to exercises in geometry and light, bringing his practice full circle.
Following a visit to Algeria fifteen years ago, Ouadahi’s first return home since leaving to study in Dusseldorf, his paintings were predicated around the politics of class, religion, and ethnicity. The physical boundaries in the city of Algiers and the sense otherness affected him on that trip, and the first works he made thereafter were of heavy concrete modernist buildings: Postwar faceless housing estates, as present in Algeria as they are in France and metropolitan areas of other European countries, which segregate the societies that dwell within them from the surrounding urban fabric. Ouadahi’s fence paintings, his underground paths and his urban landscapes all sprang from that experience.
In Extra Muros we show one of these early works, Carcasse/Heimat (2005), a large format painting made soon after this trip. A powerful expression of these concerns, with its brutalist alienating architecture and grid with a strong horizontal emphasis, this painting is a precursor of Ouadahi’s urban landscapes of the next decade.
Since 2017 onwards Ouadahi sought to rebuild his method of painting, but without leaving his general concept. In his abstract sketches and painterly experiments, Ouadahi attempts to shatter his previous practice. Stripping away all recognizable traces of urban settings, focusing instead on light and transparency, his latest works are devoid of social commentary, and instead about engendering a kind of feeling through visual sensation. These luminous, transparent, impossible spaces highlight the process of painting itself and the meditative qualities of the painting and the space it evokes.
Courtesy of Lawrie Shabibi
May 15 (Wednesday) - September 1 (Sunday)
Unit 21, Alserkal Avenue Al-Quoz 1, Dubai, UAE