Drum roll, please

10 Feb 2018 - 24 Feb 2018

King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

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JRS7769
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Ashab Al Lal, 2016, Installation View from Drumroll Please
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Curated by

Jumana Ghouth

In partnership with

ATHR Gallery
King Abdullah Economic City

Saudi Arabia’s recent history has been minimally recorded. Absent an archive, the past does not enter the present. Missing the link, stories of today fall away and the moment does not cohere. In this tumult, scenes, characters and narratives cannot be assimilated, let alone performed.

The urban scene structures the psychological condition, with each space – interior, exterior – forged through constant cycles of reconfiguration. In the spaces between these currents, life carries on. On some sites, the shockwaves of mass demolition and reconstruction are so recent, so regular, that the performance and its effects are only just starting to be staged.

Day-to-day life continues, the torrents of change around us buffering past and unfurling through future. We find ourselves in the eye of the storm — this great swirling narrative picks up its pace only to drop it again, before reorienting its direction and re-initiating its force some weeks or months later. Caught as we are, with baited breath, between applause or hiss, how do we perform? The drumroll, that timeless signifier of anticipation — a nail-biting, beat-skipping prelude to a performance — is omnipresent. For what comes next on Saudi’s cultural, social and political landscape? In the midst of what seems like a perpetual cliff-hanger, how do we delineate the truth from fiction?

The performance plays out around us, but we too are under a spotlight. A rabbit ‘caught in the headlights’ freezes. A human, under the harsh glare of the media — or caught in the perpetual brightness of a towering construction site — hides. For Ahmed Mater, this moment in time has led to his own performance: works created through actions — found, recorded, spontaneous and sometimes scripted — with his compulsion to document keeping pace with the tempo of seismic and rapid change. His Desert of Pharan series, grouped into distinct zones of reflection, brings to the fore Saudi’s main protagonist, Makkah. Here we have an archive being written and re-written, perhaps the country’s only archive of what was and is now on the horizon.

Exhibited Artworks:

Disarm

2013

Leaves Fall in All Seasons

2013

Pelt Him!

2012

Ghost

2013

Room With a View ($3,000/night)

2012

Public Transit

2015

On the Haramain Highway

2014

Northern Gate

2013

Neon Cafe

2012

Social Fabric

2012

Stand in the Pathway and See

2012

Neighbourhood – Street Vendor

2015

Neighbourhood – Pedestrians

2012

Walkway to Mina

2012

Workers' Camp II

2015

Workers Camp I

2015

Artificial Light

2012

Artificial Light – Construction

2015

Foundation for the New Tower

2015

Golden Hour

2011

Concrete Lamination

2013

From Dream to Reality

2013

Nature Morte

2012

Metropolis

2013

Habitat

2014

Evolution of Man at Standing Rock

2010

Ka'aba

2015

Jibreel (Gabriel)

2012

Human Highway

2012

Hajj Season

2015

Gas Station Leadlight

2013

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

The Empty Land

2012

Evolution of Man

2010

Evolution of Man

2010

Evolution of Man

2010

Evolution of Man

2010

Evolution of Man

2010

Cadillac

2016

Al Malaz

2016

Roadblock

2016

Pipeline

2016

Old Poet

2016

1973

2016

Television

2016

Caravan

2016

Crisis

2016

Evolution of Man at Standing Rock

2016

Evolution of Man at Standing Rock

2016

Abraaj Al Beit Tower

2012

Clock Tower (Mecca Time)

2015

The Empty Land

2012

Evolution of Man at Standing Rock

2016
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