MARC STRAUS

Gallery

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts

September 6 - December 18, 2022

Opening Reception
Wed September 7 2022, 4pm - 8pm

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts

MARC STRAUS is pleased to present its first solo exhibition with Abdulnasser Gharem.

Abdulnasser Gharem (b. 1973) lives and works in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In Hospitable Thoughts, his first solo gallery exhibition in New York, he engages with themes of control and authority, as well as a desire to preserve and respect the history upon which traditional art is built.

In his country, Gharem has paved the way for the past twenty years with his unwavering commitment to social and political change through his artistic practice, and to the propagation of his studio school’s ongoing effort to foster truth, teach compassion, and develop ideas that break boundaries.

Living and working in Saudi Arabia for almost a decade, I’ve had the unique experience of being immersed in two paramount revolutions at once: one social, the other cultural. Gharem has been a catalyst for the tremendous development of the contemporary art landscape we now see burgeoning in the region. The rigor of his work, his beautiful and powerful narratives has led to his recognition as a leading artistic figure in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”
—Christina Lessa

Gharem invites us to look more closely at the ideological and physical barriers we’ve created that separate people on this planet. By seeing and listening, we have the possibility of understanding that different ideas, cultures, and beliefs have currency.

His perspective as an artist is very much informed by his experience as a military officer in Saudi Arabia for most of his adult life. As a military man he says, “I was instilled with repetition. Orders were issued to us and then we repetitively reissued them to others. I felt the harshness of repetition.

In this exhibit Gharem has produced several barriers, whose shape and meaning are universally recognized. In Concrete Wall II, a monumental work, the barrier functions to separate people, while the smaller barrier, Concrete Block V, suggests rerouting traffic and blocking vehicles from entering. What makes these works so compelling and beautiful are their surfaces, covered with tiny rubber print letters from both the Arabic and the Latin alphabet. These letters are put on in the reverse, as one does with a printing press, conveying essential thoughts and observations on our contemporary societies.

The repetition re-appears in the painstaking work of adorning the surfaces with tens of thousands of letters. The content is opaque, perhaps reminiscent of the text paintings of American artist, Glenn Ligon, whose text comes from literature from major Black authors. Gharem’s writing in Arabic and in English, if decipherable, requires a mirrored reading by the viewer. Once decoded, the messages speak to challenges shared by millions around the world.

Gharem reminds us that while repetition may be beautiful, as in prayer, social structures such as governments and organized religion often use it to create predictable responses, to bind us towards a desired goal or viewpoint, and to ultimately foster the notion of separation.

War has been a constant presence in our history: small and large wars still rage today. The largest and most defining one at present is against all living species, a changing climate wrought from man’s carelessness and obsession with consumption ─ a “hysterical violence,” as Gharem calls it. In the end most wars are about the market and the means and ownership of production, especially in this 21st century when the disparity between the haves and have-nots has reached a new apex.

What’s changed in this century is the immediacy of virtual information. It opens the doors to communication and discourse for all, though there are governments that would suppress such access in an attempt to limit information.

Gharem points out that there is an increasing expansion of the algorithmic mind, the overlapping of human life with the lives of computer processors. Yet, despite its threat digitization holds promise; the democracy of technology is difficult to stifle.

The barriers can be broken.

 

Abdulnasser Gharem graduated from the King Abdulaziz Academy in 1992. He later attended The Leader Institute in Riyadh, and in 2003 he studied at the influential Al-Meftaha Arts Village in Abha. Gharem had his first museum solo exhibition in the United States in 2017 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). He has participated in one-person and group exhibitions in Europe, Asia, the Gulf and the USA, including the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Chalet Saqqarah, Gstaad, Switzerland; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; the Station Museum, Houston, TX; Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, ME; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art Salt Lake City, UT; Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN; among others. Additionally, Gharem participated in the 53rd and 54th editions of the Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia).

His work is in private and public collections including The British Museum, London, UK; V&A Museum, London, UK; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, USA; Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy; Greenbox Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture & Information, Saudi Arabia; BASMOCA: Basma Al Sulaiman Museum of Contemporary Art, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; The Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; among others.

An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, September 7th from 4 to 8 PM at the gallery. The artist will be present.

Viewing hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 to 6:00 PM. For visuals and additional press information please contact kelsey@marcstraus.com or at +1 (212) 510-7646.

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Installation View
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts  2022 Marc Straus Gallery
AbdulnasserGharem2022_InstallationImages_4
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts  2022 Marc Straus Gallery
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Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts  2022 Marc Straus Gallery
AbdulnasserGharem2022_InstallationImages_7
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts  2022 Marc Straus Gallery
AbdulnasserGharem2022_InstallationImages_12
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts  2022 Marc Straus Gallery
AbdulnasserGharem2022_InstallationImages_11
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts  2022 Marc Straus Gallery
AbdulnasserGharem2022_InstallationImages_14
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts  2022 Marc Straus Gallery
AbdulnasserGharem2022_InstallationImages_8
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Concrete Wall II, 2022
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
110.6 x 49.6 x 25.2 in (281 x 126 x 64 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Concrete Wall II, 2022
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
110.6 x 49.6 x 25.2 in (281 x 126 x 64 cm)

Works In Exhibition
Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Climate Refugee, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Climate Refugee, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Climate Refugee, 2022 (detail)
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Climate Refugee, 2022 (detail)
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Concrete Block V, 2022
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
40.5 x 43.3 x 21.25 in (103 x 110 x 54 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Concrete Block V, 2022
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
40.5 x 43.3 x 21.25 in (103 x 110 x 54 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Don’t Trust The Concrete, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Don’t Trust The Concrete, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Concrete Wall II, 2022
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
110.6 x 49.6 x 25.2 in (281 x 126 x 64 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Concrete Wall II, 2022
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
110.6 x 49.6 x 25.2 in (281 x 126 x 64 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Concrete Wall II, 2022 (detail)
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
110.6 x 49.6 x 25.2 in (281 x 126 x 64 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Concrete Wall II, 2022 (detail)
Rubber stamps and industrial lacquer paint on 9mm plywood board
110.6 x 49.6 x 25.2 in (281 x 126 x 64 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Concrete Wall Painting, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
94.5 x 47.25 in (240 x 120 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Concrete Wall Painting, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
94.5 x 47.25 in (240 x 120 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Prosperity Without Growth II, 2020
Digital print, gold and color paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
33.7 x 49 in (85.5 x 124.5 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Prosperity Without Growth II, 2020
Digital print, gold and color paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
33.7 x 49 in (85.5 x 124.5 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts The Stamp (Moujaz), 2022
Hand carved wood with embossed rubber face
36 x 36 x 40 in (91.4 x 91.4 x 101.6 cm)
Edition of 8, AP I/III 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

The Stamp (Moujaz), 2022
Hand carved wood with embossed rubber face
36 x 36 x 40 in (91.4 x 91.4 x 101.6 cm)
Edition of 8, AP I/III

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Inshallah Rubber Stamp, 2022
Embossed rubber
34.65 in diameter (88 cm diameter)
Edition of 1/5, II AP 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Inshallah Rubber Stamp, 2022
Embossed rubber
34.65 in diameter (88 cm diameter)
Edition of 1/5, II AP

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Amen Rubber Stamp, 2022
Embossed rubber
34.65 in diameter (88 cm diameter)
Edition of 1/5, II AP 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Amen Rubber Stamp, 2022
Embossed rubber
34.65 in diameter (88 cm diameter)
Edition of 1/5, II AP

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Moujaz Stamp Print, 2013
Handprinted silk screen print on Somerset Tub paper
59 x 47.25 in (150 x 120 cm)
Edition of 25, AP V/V 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Moujaz Stamp Print, 2013
Handprinted silk screen print on Somerset Tub paper
59 x 47.25 in (150 x 120 cm)
Edition of 25, AP V/V

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts The Path (Siraat), 2007
Single channel video
Duration: 00:03:04
Edition of 7/12 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

The Path (Siraat), 2007
Single channel video
Duration: 00:03:04
Edition of 7/12

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Hijamah (Traditional Pain Treatment Performance), 2015
Pigment print triptych
33.75 x 33.75 in (left); 33.75 x 47.25 in (center); 33.75 x 33.75 in (right) (85.7 x 85.7 cm; 85.7 x 120 cm; 85.7 x 85.7 cm)
Edition of 1/5, II AP 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Hijamah (Traditional Pain Treatment Performance), 2015
Pigment print triptych
33.75 x 33.75 in (left); 33.75 x 47.25 in (center); 33.75 x 33.75 in (right) (85.7 x 85.7 cm; 85.7 x 120 cm; 85.7 x 85.7 cm)
Edition of 1/5, II AP

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Hijamah (Traditional Pain Treatment), 2015
4K color video
Duration: 00:04:52
Edition of 1/5, II AP 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Hijamah (Traditional Pain Treatment), 2015
4K color video
Duration: 00:04:52
Edition of 1/5, II AP

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Siraat (The Path), 2011
Silk screen print on Somerset Tub paper
50 x 70.9 in (127 x 180 cm)
From the Performance of the Path 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Siraat (The Path), 2011
Silk screen print on Somerset Tub paper
50 x 70.9 in (127 x 180 cm)
From the Performance of the Path

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Caged Humanity, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Caged Humanity, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm)

Abdulnasser Gharem: Hospitable Thoughts Participatory Surveillance, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm) 2022 Marc Straus Gallery
Abdulnasser Gharem

Participatory Surveillance, 2022
Lacquer paint on rubber stamps mounted on aluminum
42.9 x 63 in (109 x 160 cm)

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