Murtaza Vali

  • Hale Tenger, Balloons on the Sea (detail), 2011, multi-channel video installation, dimensions variable.
    picks December 01, 2011

    Hale Tenger, Sharjah Biennial, “September 11”

    Every other March, the opening of the Sharjah Biennial coincides with Art Dubai. The former’s critical aspiration and ambitious sprawl combines with the glitz and glamour of the fair to make an overwhelming surfeit of contemporary art. Amid this year’s March Madness, Hale Tenger’s multichannel video installation Balloons on the Sea, 2011, at Green Art Gallery, provided much-needed space for reflection. Inspired by a common distraction along the Bosphorus in which patrons pay to shoot BB guns at floating balloons, the work’s main projection featured a single, colorful string of the inflatable

  • Vlassis Caniaris, Without Words, 1973, mixed media, 30 x 41 x 53”.
    picks October 18, 2011

    Vlassis Caniaris

    Though nearly four decades old, the six sculptural assemblages by the late Vlassis Caniaris on view in this exhibition feel unexpectedly timely. Cobbled together from the modest detritus of everyday life, these decidedly “unmonumental” tableaux, made in 1973 and 1974, are filled with images and objects that suggest mobility and travel, but the liberatory promise of departure to elsewhere is always tempered by the knowledge of the real hardships often faced upon arrival. Caniaris fled a dictatorship in his native Greece in 1956 and moved between various European capitals before returning to Athens

  • Hassan Khan, The Hidden Location, 2004, still from a four-channel video installation, 52 minutes.
    picks August 01, 2011

    Hassan Khan

    The Hidden Location, 2004, a fifty-two-minute, synchronized four-channel video installation at the heart of Hassan Khan’s solo exhibition, is a portrait of his hometown, Cairo. A vociferous critic of contemporary art from the Middle East that panders to and deals in Western stereotypes of the region, Khan rigorously and successfully resists the powerful lure of the exotic and formulaic.

    The installation consists of sixteen distinct sections that vary thematically and stylistically. Documentary-style segments—some silent, some not—of passing container ships and car traffic both jammed and moving,

  • Hassan Sharif, Jute, Cloth, and Rope, 1985, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks June 07, 2011

    Hassan Sharif

    Widely cited as the father of contemporary Emirati art, Hassan Sharif here receives a long-overdue retrospective. The exhibition includes three decades of his singular and pioneering work, including photographs documenting actions Sharif undertook in the early 1980s. Conducted during summers at home while he attended art school in England, these performances embody the artist’s desire to situate himself—literally—in the desert landscape of Dubai; they involve him walking, jumping, digging, and standing in a hole in the sand. Elsewhere in the exhibition, a selection of Sharif’s abstract paintings