’99 Objects Possible to Find on a Cloud’
Monday, 30 September at 7pm, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (Al Quoz)
Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (Al Quoz) presents ’99 Objects Possible to Find on a Cloud’, a major exhibition of acclaimed Lebanese artist, writer and architect Nadim Karam. Several new bodies of work will be shown alongside previously exhibited sculptures and paintings in a comprehensive survey of Karam’s recent artistic practice.
Karam portrays absorbing dreamscapes through a unique pictorial language composed of symbols and characters which populate both his paintings and sculptures. He frequently revisits the concept of ‘The Cloud’ as a method of considering the space around oneself and looking at the potential narratives a utopian ideal can inspire, as well as a form of escapism from urbanisation.
Working across a wide range of mediums, from architectural interventions, to sculpture and painting, Karam does not impose any hierarchy; each medium serves its own unique purpose in drawing a response from his viewer. The artist is renowned for his public sculptures – which can be seen in cities around the world including London, Prague, Beirut and Tokyo – which he refers to as urban toys, underlining a playful approach. These are not works to intimidate; they are to be enjoyed and contemplated – instilling elements of fantasy into municipal environments.
The exhibition at Ayyam Gallery will present an immersive and ambitious new installation, ‘Objects Possible to Find on a Cloud’ (2013). For this, Karam will present 99 printed works depicting fantastical combinations of elements from real life merged with his urban toy characters. The prints will both adorn the gallery walls and hang from the ceiling, creating a dreamlike ‘sky’ within the space. Other new works on show include the sculptures, ‘Cultural Warrior 1’, ‘Hannibal and the Elephant’ (2013), featuring a dominant figure wielding a sceptre with the symbol of a cloud standing proudly atop an intricately carved elephant; and ‘The Walking Cloud’ (2013), a surreal and otherworldly form that emerges from a mass of white feathers and mother of pearl buttons.
The titles of Karam’s works are indicative of a strong narrative thread which runs through each series, from the large-scale semi abstract sculpture such as ‘The Cloud, the Fisherman and the Mutating Cities’ (2012) to paintings such as ‘Boy on a Cloud Carrying an Elephant’ (2012). ‘In Absurd Moments’ (2012), part of the series ‘Shooting the Cloud’, each individual element of the painting touches another, creating a chain between diverse symbols; a flower springs up from a plane on a collision course with an apparently unconcerned figure, who in turn perches atop a tank taking aim at the plane. Karam brings together these emblems of war and peace throughout this series to create whimsical tableaux that ask the viewer to look afresh at the world and all it has to offer.
Notes to Editors
Born in 1957 in Senegal, Nadim Karam now lives and works in Beirut. In 1996, he established Atelier Hapsitus (www.hapsitus.com), a satellite grouping of young Lebanese architects and designers, that seeks to create an original urban vocabulary though large-scale art installation and architectural works for various cities worldwide. Karam’s work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide, as well as biennales including Venice, Liverpool, and Gwangju. Previous solo exhibitions include: Ayyam Gallery London (2013); DIFC Gate, Dubai (2010); Sultan Gallery, Kuwait (2008); Al-Bustan, Lebanon (2006). Selected group shows include: Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris and Abu Dhabi (2013); Villa Empain Exhibition, Brussels (2012); Chatsworth House (2011), Royal College of Art, London (2011); Running Horse Contemporary Art Space, Lebanon (2011); Katzen Arts Centre, Washington (2010); American University Museum, Washington (2010); Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2009); Liverpool Independent Art Biennale (2006).
About Ayyam Gallery
Founded by collectors and cousins Khaled and Hisham Samawi in Damascus in 2006, Ayyam Gallery sought to nurture Syria’s burgeoning and dynamic contemporary art scene through landmark non-profit initiatives such as the Shabab Ayyam Project, an incubator for emerging artists. Expansion into Beirut and Dubai enabled Ayyam Gallery to broaden its scope from the promotion of work by Syrian artists to those from the wider Middle East region. In doing so, Ayyam Gallery has established itself as one of the foremost exponents of Middle Eastern contemporary art to the international community.
Today, Ayyam Gallery is recognised as a leading cultural voice in the region, representing a roster of Arab and Iranian artists with an international profile and museum presence, such as Abdulnasser Gharem, Khaled Jarrar, Nadim Karam, Safwan Dahoul, Samia Halaby, Sadik Alfraji, Afshin Pirhashemi and Khaled Takreti. A number of non-commercial exhibitions, as well as the launch of initiatives like The Young Collectors Auction, have further succeeded in showcasing the work of Middle Eastern artists with the aim of educating a wider audience about the art of this significant region. Ayyam Gallery Damascus currently functions as a studio and creative haven for artists who remain in the war-torn city. In early 2013, Ayyam Gallery launched new spaces in London and Jeddah.
Preview: 30 September 2013, 7pm
Exhibition Dates: 30 September – 28 November 2013
Location: Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai
Tel: +971 4 3236242