10.8.
–20.10.
2019
Sarah Abu Abdallah

Sarah Abu Abdallah, For the First Time in a Long Time, installation view, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Photo: Fred Dott

Only 6 days

Sarah Abu Abdallah

In cooperation with Art Jameel, Dubai

Sarah Abu Abdallah (*1990 in Qatif, Saudi Arabia) works with video, painting, text and installation. Her visual worlds are influenced by ever-changing surroundings between her travels and her home in Saudi, the visual data streams of the Internet, and the pop culture in the Gulf area among others. Her works are conducted by a search for a self and a sense of belonging. How does both manifest themselves in public and private space, especially through different framework conditions? Fragmentarily combined text and image material in this investigation refers to the transience of memories and to moments of anxiety in an ever faster spinning world. Abu Abdallah's works are full of poetry. Recurring motifs are moments of disappearance and destruction as well as questions of gender-specific coding and restrictions in the domestic and public spheres - also against the background of her role as a female artist in Saudi society. A central aspect in all her works is the metaphor of untamed nature versus nature restrained by man. The artist's first solo exhibition in Europe combines two films and new paintings into one comprehensive installation. The film The Salad Zone (2013) focuses on everyday life. Abu Abdallah examines the absolute, the prescribed and the absurd of social agreements in a time of abundance and the resulting constructions of fear. The work reveals Abu Abdallah's characteristic handling of language and image. She concentrates on side events and banalities in which she searches for little stories that tell of greater things. The visual material originates from her private surroundings, without revealing its concrete background. For the artist, the question is what remains of memories and encounters when their visual reference is removed from its context.

In this context, a greenhouse is also to be understood in which historical tomatoes that have meanwhile have become extinct in the wild are cultivated in the exhibition. They symbolize a specific variety of tomato that no longer exists in Saudi Arabia due to land reforms, and the artist's childhood memories of its special taste. Simultaneously, the installation testifies to the fact that once things lie in the past they can only be reproduced artificially and yet never be the same again. The second film, The House That Ate Them Whole (2018), tells the allusive story of a house that devours its tenants while dreaming of freeing itself from its static situation. The background to the work is a reflection on how our everyday environment - the interior of houses and the things we accumulate in them - shapes and influences us. The microcosm of the domestic space is here linked to the socio-political issues of our society. The observation of banal everyday life is decisive in Abu Abdallah's thoroughly humorous analysis of different cultures and social forms; always guided by the question of how these are reflected in our lives and identities. This can also be seen in a large-format painting installation that, like a wall frieze, covers a wide part of the exhibition space. With the principle of collage, Abu Abdallah also pursues a pars pro toto strategy that focuses on the self in a constantly changing environment.

Sarah Abu Abdallah (*1990 in Qatif, Saudi Arabia) studied Digital Media Art Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the University of Sharjah. She has shown internationally at solo and group exhibitions among others, at Gwangju Biennial 2018, Sharjah Art Foundation (both 2018), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Centre Pompidou (both 2017), Chicago Underground film festival, Luma Foundation (both 2015), Serpentine Galleries, Whitechapel Gallery and 55th Venice Biennale (all 2013).

The exhibition is a coproduction with Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, where it will open in December 2019, and will be accompanied by the first monograph of the artist in col- laboration with Art Jameel. The exhibition and the catalogue were supported by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach- Stiftung under its support prize “Catalogues for Young Artists”.

Sarah Abu Abdallah (*1990 in Qatif, Saudi Arabia) studied Digital Media Art Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the University of Sharjah. She has shown internationally at solo and group exhibitions among others, at Gwangju Biennial 2018, Sharjah Art Foundation (both 2018), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Centre Pompidou (both 2017), Chicago Underground film festival, Luma Foundation (both 2015), Serpentine Galleries, Whitechapel Gallery and 55th Venice Biennale (all 2013).

The exhibition is a coproduction with Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, where it will open in December 2019, and will be accompanied by the first monograph of the artist in col- laboration with Art Jameel. The exhibition and the catalogue were supported by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach- Stiftung under its support prize “Catalogues for Young Artists”.

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