Lombard-Freid Projects is pleased to announce Heat Wave, a group show of works by Fikret Atay (b.1976, Turkey), Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Pakistan), Maya Schindler (b. 1977, Israel), Mounira al Solh (b. 1978, Lebanon), Eko Nugroho (b. 1977, Indonesia) and Noa Charuvi (b. 1979, Israel).
Heat Wave brings together six fresh voices from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Turkey. Though varied in terms of geography, language and tradition, these international artists are bound generationally and unified by an interest in representing elements of cultural and political specificity through expressions and symbols of the everyday. Using humor, critique, irony and introspection, the work of each artist proposes a distinct strategy for active engagement – whether borrowing from popular culture (Atay, Nugroho) or photojournalism (Charuvi), expanding the language of documentary into the realm of fiction (al Solh) or examining tensions (Abidi) and repositories of national identity (Schindler).
Fikret Atay lives and works in his hometown of Batman, Turkey, a Kurdish city near the border with Iraq. In his most recent video work, Batman v. Batman (2009), the mayor of the city plays a superhero who brings a lawsuit against Warner Bros. over rights to the name of the famed comic book character. As with all his videos, narrative simplicity and modest filming techniques produce insightful works that insist on their local context without being didactic. Recent exhibitions include, Fikret Atay, Viafarini, Milan, Italy; Bonner Kunstverein, Germany; King of the Ring, E.N.S.A.D, Strasbourg, France; L’argent, Le Plateau, Paris, France. Atay has participated in the biennales of Lyon, Istanbul, Sydney and Cairo.
Bani Abidi’s Karachi series (2009) treats one of the central dilemmas of Pakistani nationalism at the level of quotidian experience. The six photographs that together constitute the series are all taken at dusk during the month of Ramadan when observant Muslims break the ritual daily fast. Each photograph stages an incongruous scene of a lone figure engaged in a domestic task under the glow of a street lamp. The names of the photographed, as indicated in the titles, call attention to the fact that they belong to the non-Muslim minorities (Christian, Hindu) in Pakistan. Abidi implicates the intersection of private and public space as the site of the increasingly problematic conflicts of this multi-religious city. Recent exhibitions include the 10th Lyon Biennale, France; Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan, Asia Society, NY; The View From Elsewhere, Queensland Art Gallery, Sydney; 7th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.
Born in Jerusalem and living in New York, Maya Schindler addresses the aesthetics and semiotics of political, social and linguistic boundaries. Included in the exhibition will be, White Flags (2010), an installation of seven flags made of fiberglass and thick layers of white acrylic paint. The raw materiality of the colorless sculptural flags becomes a poignant way to reinvent a symbol and question expressions of allegiance that are commonly taken for granted. Recent exhibitions include, Present Progressive, California State University Art Museum, Long Beach; Seeing is Believing, Zaum Projects, Lisbon, Portugal; Wishful Thinking Wishful, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania.
Heat Wave will showcase two works from Mounira al Solh’s series, The Sea is a Stereo, which focuses on a group of men who sit on the beach in Beirut everyday, without concern for weather or war. In the 13-minute video, Paris without a Sea (2008), the boundaries between reality and fiction are blurred as the artist interviews the men and then voices-over their lines herself. The comic effect of this technique and light-hearted jest of the dialogue masks a more profound, yet present, reflection on the habits and routines one holds onto in the face of uncertainty. A series of four photographs entitled Elvis (2009), depict the gesture of one character showing the artist photographs of himself as a young man and of his son living abroad with his family. Recent exhibitions include, Volkskrant Prize, Stedelijk Museum Scheidam, Netherlands; 2009 Istanbul Biennial, Turkey; Be(com)ing Dutch, Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands and the Lebanese Pavilion, 2007 Venice Biennale, Italy.
A native of Yogyakarta, Eko Nugroho is a self-made artist whose work has come to international attention in the past several years. Working in a diverse range of media, from murals to shadow puppets, video projections to paintings, Nugroho’s images reflect Indonesia’s politically charged environment through fantastic and darkly humorous satires populated by surreal characters that fuse human, machine, animal and plant. Featured in Heat Wave will be new pieces including a vibrant large-scale embroidery and several smaller scale works of textile and watercolor, whose graphic comic book quality portrays figures with alien-like heads. Recent exhibitions include, It’s all about Coalition, National Museum of Singapore; 2009 Jakarta Biennial, Indonesia; Dorodoro, Doron!, Hiroshima Contemporary Art Museum, Japan; 10th Lyon Biennale, France; Beyond the Dutch, Centraal Museum, Netherlands.
New York based, Israeli artist Noa Charuvi paints from photojournalistic images taken in Gaza. Her colorful canvases abstract the demolished buildings ravaged by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Bedroom (2010) depicts the traces of life in what was once a domestic setting; furniture and belongings are strewn across the interior as the torn walls expose the room as a destroyed landscape. The site-specificity of the source images, in contrast with her process of deconstructing the photographed forms creates a body of work that demands attention and observation.