A pioneer of conceptual art and experimental practice in the Middle East, Hassan Sharif has explored form, time, social action and mathematical systems since the 1970s. His work includes the founding and co-founding of the Emirates Fine Arts Society, Sharjah (1980); Al Mareija Art Atelier, Sharjah (1984); the Art Atelier in the Youth Theater and Arts, Dubai (1987); and The Flying House, Dubai (2007) – organisations that have supported interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art in the Emirates through mentorship and exhibition. Sharif’s work is marked by the use of common materials in accumulative installations as well as complex social and philosophical reflection. Works presented in SB12 feature those created in Sharjah during his active years with Al Mareija Art Atelier. Wooden Column (1985) features a simple form commonly used to block parking spaces in the Sharjah souk. Encased within an unforgiving vitrine, flanked by drawings and writings imagining the column’s escape and transformation, the captured object awaits transcendence. Table (1985) reveals Sharif’s wry humour and playfulness, with a photo of its fur-covered underside summoning bodies to bend, caress and take pleasure in its hidden sensuousness. But humour is only a superficial invitation to call behaviour and boundaries into question, to consider matter and being and hypothesise about identification and self-reflexivity.
Books and published work
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Articles, magazines, documentaries about the artist
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