We Are Dipped in Art
SCALE tried to pick its way through the known and often unknown mediums and expressions of art in Qatar and outside. Check out these stories of art expressions that inspired us in our 2019 retrospective…
Art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time. Research has also shown how art affects the fundamental sense of self. Art is a sense of communication that allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, paintings, scultpures, sounds and stories.
Ghanian artist El Anatsui’s incredible sculptures made from bottle caps and laced together with stories of hope is draped around the cavernous galleries of Mathaf, snaking across the space to tell stories of subjugation, triumph and our ultimate need to talk with and understand one another. Up close, the shiny colourful medallions are no thicker than a visiting card and are held together with tiny fasteners and seem almost fragile to the touch. The material and that interlay, seem to be a metaphor for dialogues between communities, seemingly delicate, the need of the hour and yet mostly unheeded. This exhibition is ongoing at Mathaf and anyone who wants to visit should do so…Wind and Rain
Two installations oceans apart – one catching the rain to alter its form, the other pretending to catch the wind only to remain still and contemplative. Both visually stunning and ethereal. One in Arizona, where the artist, Benjamin Shine’s signature tulle-medium is scaled up as a monument to mindfulness and self-reflection like a sky flow sculpture named ‘Quietude’. The other in Italy is made up of 5000 individually heat-formed, clear droplets framed in steam-bent wood. The delicate droplets are attached to a pair of clear filament nets that are supported by tree trunks above. As rainwater or snow accumulates in the droplets, the position and shape of the nets lower and change. As collected water evaporates, the sculpture rises back to its original configuration. Named The Reservoir, this work of art by artist John Grade sees rainfall as a celestial installation.
Childlike and irreverent, Brian Donnely’s cartoonish creations both delighted and befuddled the city, which hosted an exhibition and a public installation by the cult artist this year. Are we alone, like this dead-eyed doll? (And will buying one of those make us feel better about it?)
The exhibition features 40 artworks representing the artist’s studio practice on view at the Garage Gallery in the Fire Station and a monumental (40-meter long) inflatable sculpture titled Holiday (2019) was installed in the Dhow Harbour. Some 90 products and commercial collaborations designed by Kaws – among them sneakers, skateboards, and toys – were in the archive located on the second floor of the Fire Station’s Café building.
Hands intertwined forming a bridge that is larger than life, is how Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn depicts the love that bridges divides. His public art has been seen around the world depicting themes of love and human connection through his recreation of figurative forms and human hands. Building Bridges, the pinnacle of Quinn’s artistic expression to date, is installed in the basin of the Arsenale in the Castello District of Venice. Composed of six pairs of monumental hands, 15 metres high and 20 metres wide, the spectacular sculpture speaks to humanity’s commonality, with an emphasis on bridging differences in all aspects of life – geographically, philosophically, culturally and emotionally.
SCALE was proud to have written about the work of this artist again at Mathaf, who was known as India’s Picasso, M. F. Husain. M.F.Hussain’s: Horses of the Sun, curated by the acclaimed Mumbai-based poet, art critic, and cultural theorist, Ranjit Hoskote, featured more than 100 works by M. F. Husain, including paintings, drawings, textile works, and films, drawn from QF and Qatar Museums collections, as well as from private collections from the Gulf region and around the world.
The exhibition showed the global scope of this artist, as the curator mentions, “In our global times, location doesn’t necessarily matter. Husain’s work is the legacy of all humankind. Having said that, yes, his departure into exile was a loss for India. On the other hand, his art might not have taken the dramatic turn it did in his final years, had he not been pushed into this upheaval.”
And to experience the dramatic turn, his art took in the last few months before the death of this fine artist, the Mathaf collective was indeed a showstopper, one that should not have been missed in 2019.