Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Mixed Lines

When 18 Jan 2020 - 22 Feb 2020
Where Aicon Gallery
35 Great Jones St,
New York, NY 10012
United States

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim is part of the UAE’s first generation of contemporary artists from the 1990s and 2000s, an avant-garde that included Hassan Sharif, Abdullah Al Saadi, Hussein Sharif, and Mohammed Kazem.

The current exhibition consists of three distinct body of works – a set of large and medium sized canvases and works on paper, seven brightly-colored papier-mâché sculptures, and black and white architectonic works from Ibrahim’s Lines series. The two-dimensional work in the latter series is representative of Ibrahim’s obsessive mark-making process – akin to the lines and marks on cave walls – they have a primordial quality to them. The series was first shown in a well-received retrospective at Sharjah Art Foundation in 2018. Taken as a whole, these works exemplify the artist’s practice particularly his innovative use of materials and his connection to nature.

Ibrahim’s practice has been inspired by a lifelong relationship with the environment of Khorfakkan, his place of birth, with the Gulf of Oman on one side and the Hajar Mountains on the other. The terrain is barren and rocky, the mountains form an imposing backdrop looming over his village. Since childhood the artist has lived in this landscape and it is this experience that informs his practice, making his work in some way autobiographical.  Some writers have compared the affinity to his land as that of Donald Judd and land artists. Ibrahim’s fascination with the desolate, rocky terrain on this eastern shore of the UAE recalls not only Judd’s attraction to the barrenness of his Texan hideaway, but also the earthy toils of a generation of land artists, with whom Ibrahim shares a spiritual lineage.

His deep connection to his local environment repeats itself throughout his studio practice, whether through his installations, drawings or objects. His hand made objects are shaped like primitive tools, bones or parts of trees and appear to have been unearthed from some ancient den, rather than handcrafted. His works on paper reveal his own form of language – inscriptions, lines and abstract forms that are reminiscent of ancient cave drawings – marking time and memory through meditative repetition.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim came of age as an artist in the UAE in an era in which the visual arts were not yet valued culturally or taught in university degree programs. In 1986 when he met the late artist Hassan Sharif and became a founding member of the Emirates Fine Art Society, Ibrahim was pulled out of a secluded practice and carved out unshakable friendships and collaborations that have formed the foundation for the creative community that defines the UAE today.

In March 2018, Elements – a survey of works spanning three decades of his practice – was presented at the Sharjah Art Foundation curated by Hoor Al Qasimi. Other significant exhibitions include participations in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi (2016); the 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice (2009) the Sharjah Biennial (1993, 2003 and 2007) and the Dhaka Biennial (2002 and 1993). Select institutional exhibitions include the Kunstmuseum, Bonn (2005); the Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah (2005 and 1996), the Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen (2002); Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (1998); Sittard Art Centre, the Netherlands (1995), and the Exhibition for the Emirates Fine Art Society in the Soviet Union, Moscow (1990).His works are in significant international collections, including Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE), Sharjah Art Museum (UAE); Art Jameel (UAE); Barjeel Art Foundation (UAE); Arab Museum of Modern Art (Qatar); Kunstcentrum Sittard (Netherlands), the British Museum (UK) and The Centre George Pompidou (France). He received the first prize for sculpture at the Sharjah Biennial in 1999 and 2001 and has been a member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society since 1986, founding Art Atelier at the Khorfakkan Art Centre in 1997.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.
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