Exhibition- a solo exhibition by Ahmed Shawky Hassan
‘Exhibition’ is an exhibition about an exhibition.
An exhibition is a context for discussing artworks. Here, this very context is put in question. The title refers to the duplication of the exhibition inside of the gallery. This self-similarity allows the exhibition to reproduce but also interpret itself.
This is where the artist intervenes. Ahmed Shawky Hassan transforms the artworks displayed at ARD into a performance of the context that brought them together. He is complicating a seemingly simple aspect of the art world, namely the exhibition. What he seeks from this is understanding the state at which contemporary art has arrived today.
The artworks in this solo cover a wide range of media, from painting, to digital illustration to installation. Upon looking carefully, we notice that these artworks do not show anything but the absence of art. The diversity is a paradox. While it might seem to point to a thoughtful presence of artistic practices in the space, all these works subtract from art its impetus towards the representation of things. Borrowing from social media graphics, Ahmed Shawky Hassan playfully makes us notice that there is no art to see.
Emptied frames, emptied canvases and even an emptied wall seem to adorn the rooms of ARD. Yet, ‘Exhibition’ is not empty. What we see is the current state of contemporary art, at the point of collapse. Caught in the illusion of its exhibitionary power, this art world seems unaware. As part of the performance, each of the three rooms builds and destroys this illusion. In one room, art disappears behind language. In another, the space of the gallery becomes more important than art. In the last one, the art world succumbs to presentation. By turning us into an audience of a self-similar exhibition, we are given the means to catch the duplicity.
Co-Curated by Farida Youssef and Hana El Beblawy
“Exhibition” Tour & Talk