Where to now? at Krinzinger Schottenfeld

Maha Malluh, X-Rayed 3, 2011, inkjet on dibond, diasec, 70 x 93 cm, Ed. 6 + 1AP. Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist. photo by Tamara Rametsteiner.

Krinzinger Gallery has undertaken the endeavour of curating an exhibition for the annual “curated by” festival, emphasising in-depth research on Middle Eastern artists and their practices. This commitment is rooted in the gallery’s 15-year presence at the Art Dubai Fair and ongoing interactions with artists from the MENA region. To helm this exhibition, they enlisted curator Verena Formanek, known for her expertise and extensive experience in the Middle East, particularly Abu Dhabi.

The exhibition focuses on artists from the Arabian Peninsula who explore themes of orientation, camouflage, and identity. Its dual purpose is to shed light on contemporary art history in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates while framing the artistic practices of past generations and their relevance to the Gulf region. This exploration aligns with the concept of “The Neutral,” introduced through an essay by curator Alia Zaal, a bridge between the UAE and France, connecting her art with her father’s tradition. Her work draws inspiration from her father’s unique perspective, influenced by his vision impairment.

Radhika Khimji, A slight adjustment, 2019, oil and gesso, photo transfer on paper, 174 x 114 cm. Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist. photo by Tamara Rametsteiner.

The artists featured in the exhibition include Mohammed Kazem, Layla Juma, Lamya Gargash, Kader Attia, Abdulnasser Gharem, Radhika Khimji, Maha Malluh, Ahmed Mater, Ramin Haerizadeh & Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian and Alfred Tarazi. They grapple with the complexities of finding one’s way in a theme of Neutrality.  Mohamed Kazem showcases his artwork “Direction (Steps), 2011-2013” and “Photographs with a Flag, 1997,” documenting his renowned performance. In “Collecting Light, 2021,” his work goes beyond the visual, as the sound of scissors cutting paper becomes an integral part of the artwork.

Interdisciplinary Emirati artist Layla Juma employs geometric shapes, particularly circles and ellipses, to convey ideas of form and sequence. Her repetitive use of these shapes creates rhythmic and abstract contemporary images that represent various aspects of society.

Layla Juma’s themes resonate with artists like Hassan Sharif and Mohamed Kazem, who explore social identity, natural processes, and the fusion of drawing, performance, and construction in their work. Their collective efforts, mirroring the age of the UAE itself, add depth and imagination to the art scene, revealing a past and future often absent from Gulf art narratives.

Lamya Gargash’s “Presence” series captures derelict domestic spaces in Sharjah, Dubai, and Ajman, reflecting on her country’s history, her parents’ lives, and the evolving culture. This exhibition embodies a rich tapestry of Middle Eastern artistry, drawing inspiration from its past and shaping its future.

Alfred Tarazi, Memorial, 2013, mixed media on paper, plexi box, steel, 45 x 100 x 10 cm. Courtesy Galerie Krinzinger and the artist. photo by Tamara Rametsteiner.

About Krinzinger Schottenfeld

Krinzinger Schottenfeld is an art gallery with a commitment to contemporary art and international cultural exchange. Located in Vienna, Austria the gallery displays a strong focus on research and curatorship, offering a platform for emerging and established artists. It collaborates with diverse curators, fostering dialogues on relevant themes and expanding the horizons of contemporary art. Through its exhibitions and initiatives, the gallery plays a vital role in promoting cultural understanding and artistic exploration.

Location: Krinzinger Schottenfeld, Vienna

Dates: September 12 – October 14, 2023

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