Evolution of Man

2010

2010

Custom-made LED light-box

79.2 × 59.4 × 5 cm

A silhouetted gas pump mutates into a human x-ray, a gun to its head, before morphing back again. Unlike the progression of evolution, this foreboding form is caught in a relentless and destructive cycle without reprieve.

Here a succinct, urgent warning against an over-reliance on the petrodollar, a destructive addiction Mater witnessed in Saudi Arabia as it embraced and feted its fortune as a rentier state. These 2010 x-rays were a diagnosing doctor’s perspective – at that time, an apparently inexorable prognosis – that the environmental and social risks of oil were so vast that they threatened to throw the irrepressible march of evolution into a spiral of destruction.

This cautionary chiasmus has proven itself a powerful premonition of the changing fate of the Kingdom. Today, Saudi Arabia imagines a diversified future, a post-rentier state where new socio-economic ambitions wean the Kingdom off its oil dependence.

“I am a doctor and confront life and death every day, and I am a countryman and at the same time. I am the son of this strange, scary oil civilization. In ten years our lives changed completely. For me, it is a drastic change that I experience every day.”
Ahmed Mater
2010

Provenance

Grey Borders/Grey Frontiers

Torstrasse 1, Berlin

Ahmed Mater at Vinyl Factory

Vinyl Factory, London

We Need to Talk

Al Furisiya Marina & Mall, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

EOA Edition #01

Edge of Arabia Gallery, London

Phantom Punch

Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine Part of the CULTURUNNERS US Tour

Cities of Conviction

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art Salt Lake City, UT

Desert to Delta

Art Museum of University of Memphis (AMUM)

Drum roll, please

King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

TRANSiTION

Sanat Līmani Istanbul, Turkey

Process

Ahmed began these works when working as a doctor as Aseer Central Hospital, where he would deal with X Rays every day. Taking the visual language of medicine, Evolution of Man becomes a diagnosis for Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil.

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