Must Visit: Contemporary Emirati Artist Hassan Sharif’s Traveling Exhibition Makes its Way to Berlin and Sweden
Titled ‘I Am The Single Work Artist’, the Sharjah’s Art Foundation’s exhibition on the Emirati modern artist Hassan Sharif has now traveled to the German KW Institute for Modern Art in Berlin in an effort to introduce the world to this great Arab virtuoso.
Born in the 1950s, his life has witnessed the drastic transformations the discovery of oil brought to his home country. He left in the late 70s to study at the prestigious Byam Shaw School of Art in London and promptly returned in 1984 to begin his artistic journey in his home emirate of Al-Sharjah.
In many of the GCC’s countries, Sharif is known for being the godfather of conceptual art; his views and artistic perspectives have shaped a generation of Arab filmmakers, poets, and visionaries.
Following his death, his studio was donated to Sharjah Art Foundation, which in 2017 inaugurated the ‘I Am The Single Work Artist’ exhibition. Showcasing the lifework of Sharif, the exhibit in Berlin is curated by the foundation’s president Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi and KW Institute director Krist Gruijthuijsen and contains 150 features of the original 350 works first displayed in Sharjah.
“It’s a walk-through of someone’s practice over the past 40 years. There’s something hysterical, megalomanic and neurotic within the work of Sharif that can be captured with certain essential pieces,” says Gruijthuijsen to The National. Similar to the original exhibition in Sharjah, the KW version traces the artist’s life from 1973 to 2016, focusing on the various shifts that presented themselves in Sharif’s concepts and materials.
The exhibition showcases a number of the late artist’s self-portraits, comics, and geometric paintings, in addition to his large-scale sculptures and retakes on everyday objects. His magnum opus, ‘Dictionary’, a hanging sculpture created out of torn pages and photographs, stands in the midst of it all.
In the fall of this year, the exhibit will be making its way to Malmo Konsthall in Sweden.