Traces in the physical sense are visible marks left on a surface; they can also bear historical and cultural implications. In our forthcoming exhibition Traces we explore these notions by bringing together the works of four gallery artists: Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Marwan Sahmarani, Selma Gürbüz and Shahpour Pouyan.
Paper is indelibly associated with books and the dissemination of knowledge. From its origins in China more than 2000 years ago up until the Internet revolution of recent decades, paper was the primary medium of record. In today's world when writing can be done on a keyboard and sketches made onscreen, paper can seem like an odd survival from an earlier age. The permanence of a mark of ink on paper seems to contradict the perceived fragility of the medium and yet the very traits that make paper seem an anachronism in comparison to other media are also its strengths: they bequeath it a timeless and evocative quality. Paper works cannot be over-worked or worked over, treading a careful line between forward planning and spontaneous execution.
In Traces Kaabi-Linke's imprints on paper taken from historic wall surfaces are an attempt to link recent history to a more distant past. Pouyan's new drawings on the other hand single out particular objects whose images captivate him, treating them like devotional images from past scientific manuals, and then reproducing them on a grand scale.
In the Middle East until modern times paper was also a main medium for representation, with miniatures and diagrams, their strong graphic quality quite unlike easel painting on canvas. This abstract quality lends itself well to a contemporary context, as Gürbüz's whimsical paintings on a coarser surface attest. Both Gürbüz's and Sahmarani recall miniatures but in quite different ways- Sahmarani with his finely wrought details embellishing gestural washes of colour, while Gürbüz works appear almost as illustrations emancipated from some giant apocryphal manuscript.
Traces highlights the works of four gallery artists exploring how the intrinsic and associative qualities of paper affects their work.
Nadia Kaabi-Linke - Baruther Strasse (wall print 2008)
"Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s Baruther Strasse, an imprint on paper taken from the surface of a wall, is from her ongoing project that highlights historically or symbolically significant walls in Berlin and Tunis. Linking recent history to a more distant past, the wall in question is from a 19th century unplanned graveyard in Berlin which gradually developed into fully fledged cemetery when wealthier families began to build tombs and crypts, which eventually formed an imposing wall around the compound, which reminds Kaabi-Linke of how empty spaces around Berlin were occupied by squatters during the 1980s and 1990s."
Nadia Kaabi-Linke (1978, Tunisia) has had solo exhibitions in Calcutta, Experimenter Gallery, 2013, Dubai, Lawrie Shabibi, 2012 and Berlin, Galerie Christian Hosp, 2010 and a variety of group shows. She has participated in the Kochi Biennale 2012, Liverpool Biennale, 2012, the 54th Venice Biennale, 2011, the 9th Sharjah Biennale, 2009 and the 25th Alexandria Biennale in 2009. In 2011 she was one of the recipients of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize. Her works are part of important public and private collections including the MoMA, New York, The Kamel Lazaar Collection and Abraaj Corporate Collection.
Marwan Sahmarani (1970, Lebanon) has had solo exhibitions in Beirut, London, Montreal and Dubai and group exhibitions in Washington and Mexico. His works have also featured in Told/ Untold /Retold at Mathaf, Doha 2010, and his works are part of their collection. In 2010 Sahmarani was the recipient of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize and his work The Feast of the Damned was showcased at Art Dubai that year.
Shahpour Pouyan (1979, Iran) recently completed his MFArt at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Pouyan is the recipient of the Tehran Contemporary Museum of Art's grant of residence at International Cite Des Artes, Paris, France and has exhibited in various solo exhibitions in Tehran and Dubai and group shows in Paris, New York, Beirut, Canada and Serbia. His works are part of the notable private collections in Los Angeles, London, Dubai and Istanbul as well as an important Turkish institution.
Selma Gurbuz (1960, Turkey) is one of Turkey's foremost artists. She has exhibited extensively both in Turkey and abroad with recent solo shows at Rampa, Istanbul, 2013, Lawrie Shabibi, 2011 and Rose Issa Projects, 2010. Selma Gürbüz's work are part of public collections which include The British Museum, London, Istanbul Modern, Santral Istanbul, Istanbul Bilgi University, Project 4L, Istanbul, Galerie Maeght, Paris and the Painting and Sculpture Museum, Ankara.