Published: Sep 24, 2010
Kader Attia, History of a Myth: the Small Dome of the Rock, installation view, Abraaj Capital Art Prize, 2010. Photo by Alexzandra Chandler. Courtesy of Kader Attia.
ATLANTA—SCAD’s executive director of exhibitions Laurie Ann Farrell and renowned artist Kader Attia were awarded the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (ACAP) in September 2009. Their anticipated collaboration was unveiled at Art Dubai this past March and is now on display at MAD, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Aug. 31-Oct. 10.
Farrell and Attia met in Paris in 2005 and thus began their artistic partnership. In 2008-09, SCAD exhibited Attia’s solo exhibition, “Signs of Reappropriation,” that featured a site-specific installation of Attia’s 2007 Untitled (Skyline), a recent film and a newly commissioned body of photographs that Attia created during a brief residency at SCAD Atlanta.
ACAP, now in its second year, was established to raise awareness of the under-represented work being created by artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA), bestowed the honor to three winning teams of artists and curators for the 2010 prize. The other two winning duos are Egyptian artist Hala Elkoussy with Jelle Bouwhuis, curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and Lebanese artist Marwan Sahmarani with curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta.
Attia’s commissioned work “History of a Myth: The Small Dome of the Rock” reflects on the contentious historical terrain of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The installation simultaneously offers a contemplative space where viewers can meditate on the projection of his readymade brass-bolt and silver-nut miniature sculpture magnified to many times its actual size. Once projected to a monumental scale, the very small assemblage evokes an architectural representation of the Dome of the Rock. An additional audio component—the evocative sound of wind against the mosque's esplanade—recreates what Attia heard when he visited the monument. The mysterious, amplified noise reverberating through the dark space, illuminated only by the striking projection on the canvas, creates a lasting impression on the viewer.
“The work presented in the exhibition is truly some of the most important coming out of the MENASA region today and I could not be happier that MAD is once again introducing these winners to the U.S.,” states Holly Hotchner, the museum’s Nanette L. Laitman director.
“The edge of Attia’s practice cuts sharply across simulated ephemeral realities and longstanding deep human concerns. Through the simple gesture of pairing down the Dome of the Rock monument to a readymade sculpture and then projecting it at a monumental scale, Attia also reminds us that there are poetic gestures infused in everything that surrounds us, if we are able to see them. His work brings us back to a sustained look at the poetic dimensions and complexities of contemporary life,” said Laurie Ann Farrell.
The works are now part of the Abraaj Capital Art Collection and will travel to various locations.
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The Museum of Arts and Design collects, displays and interprets objects that document contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art and design. In its exhibitions and educational programs, the museum celebrates the creative process through which materials are crafted into works that enhance contemporary life.