April 23, 2014
MOHAMMED OMAR KHALIL
50 Years of Printmaking
Contemporary Art Platform is pleased to present one of Mohammad Omar Khalil’s biggest exhibitions to date in the region. A Retrospective that covers 50 years of his life in Printmaking which includes more than 120 works on display. Many of these works have never been exhibited before, they present an alternative reading of the artist’s entire career, not only as a traveler between cultures and epochs, but as re-interpreter of the meaning of visual culture in general: He attempts to re-locate sensorial experience elsewhere than with the pure colors that characterize the postmodern, hereby searching in the black, for a warmer place where his book of art and life meets the viewer.
Applying a traditional technique acquired from European print-makers from earlier centuries, Khalil’s etchings on black represent with vividness all his pictorial periods, from the early student days investigating modern art through his numerous travels, the experiments with abstract figures, and ultimately renditions of tributes to modern music and classical painting. Withdrawing from the visual field, the artist is opening the possibility of entering the world with an altogether different morphology, causing apparently unrelated elements to collide into each other and emerge as distinct syntactic compositions. A precise amalgamation between folkloric elements and handicraft, and the timeless quality of art history, give birth to composite worlds with life of their own.
Mohammad Omar Khalil has been both a pioneer and role model in print-making throughout the region, and one of the most important living artists working on the format that he has as well taught in prestigious American universities, such as Columbia and the Parsons School of Design at the New School. Staying away from the minimal and abstract that shaped his generation, the artist has developed a grammar of his own, excavating surfaces of consciousness and presenting them as narrative sequences in snapshots that might be arranged differently each time we observe them. The fifty years encompassed in this exhibition are by no means a composite whole more than they are the traces and coded signals of a fertile career, nowhere finished and still on the search for new groundbreaking paths.
The artist is one of the distinguished artistic practitioners of the Middle East, having pioneered not only printmaking but conceptual drawing and different styles in painting interweaving contemporary ideas with classical techniques and the use of ready-mades and crass-objects. Born in Burri, Sudan, in 1936, studied at the School of Fine and Applied Arts in Khartoum, Sudan, and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. Since 1967, he has lived and worked in New York. His work has been showcased in important venues all over the world, including the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, Kunsthalle Darmstadt in Germany, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum, both in New York City.
Project conceived by Hayfa Aljishi, Founder of Al Bareh Gallery, Bahrain
Book Published by Al Bareh Art Gallery