Sharjah Art Museum to host exhibition by Abdulnasser Gharem and Heimo Zobernig

Visitors to ‘Subversive Forms of Social Sculpture’ will discover important artworks including large installations, films and sculptures.

Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) will welcome two of the foremost conceptual artists to display some of their most important and impressive works in the upcoming exhibition ‘Subversive Forms of Social Sculpture’ held in cooperation with Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Cologne – Germany.


Sharjah Art Museum’s first major exhibition of the new season will feature pieces by the acclaimed Saudi Arabian artist Abdulnasser Gharem, alongside the international Venice Biennale representative Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig.


Taking place from September 26th to November 17th, the exhibit will consist of over 40 artworks –each displayed across the ground floor gallery at Sharjah Art Museum, located in the Heart of Sharjah, in the city’s Al-Shuwaihean neighborhood.


Gharem and Zobernig are both unique talents who express themselves through a variety of subtle conceptual artworks for the latter to, for the former, large gallery-size installations, short films and sculptures, as well as paintings and other works.


Artists Heimo Zobernig and Abdulnasser Gharem bring to light subtle qualities of our societies and intricate histories in their work. Through their lens we discover the ways in which architecture has become emblematic of politicized histories, and how the fabric of cities and societies have evolved over time.


This will be the first exhibition of Gharem’s work at Sharjah Art Museum, and marks Zobernig’s debut show at a major art institution in the UAE.


A Lieutenant Colonel in the Saudi Arabian army, Gharem is one of Middle East’s most highly sought-after artists.


When not busy producing art that examines the sociocultural make-up of the Middle East, Gharem can be found working with former soldiers and aimless youngsters by encouraging them to find an outlet through art. He set up Gharem Studio in Riyadh in 2014 to help those who would otherwise not have access to art to create a variety of highly personal and expressive works. The first exhibit of pieces from Gharem Studio were shown at London’s Asia House gallery in 2016.


Zobernig, who comes from Austria, also works in the field of conceptual art with his pieces and installations often employing elements of cubism and nature to create a clear visual aesthetic.


The winner of several major international art awards, Zobernig represents a new modern and European vision of conceptual art. His work spans an array of media, from architectural intervention and installation, through performance, film and video, to sculpture and painting.


A graduate of the acclaimed Vienna Academy for Fine Arts, the artist represented Austria at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Working across multiple platforms allows Zobernig to continually push the boundaries of what a viewer might expect.


His work will invite visitors to Sharjah Art Museum to view the world, and art, in a different way. As the artist comments: “The material, the medium, is the resistance met in forming. A sculpture is a picture, is a film.”


Visitors to Zobernig’s exhibition can expect to find a range of intriguing pieces that represent the cutting edge of what is happening in the art world.


‘Subversive Forms of Social Sculpture’ curated by Brigitte Schenk and Amira Gad, will appeal to working artists, professionals connected to the regional and global art scene and members of the public who have an appreciation for modern conceptual art.


Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, said: “The exhibition ‘Subversive Forms of Social Sculpture’ marks the new exhibition season at Sharjah Art Museum, bringing two of the most unique, challenging and fascinating conceptual artists , for the very first time, in Sharjah.


“Throughout their careers, the artists have used their work as a platform to push boundaries and develop new levels of consciousness around the driving themes of their practice.


“Visitors to Sharjah Art Museum will note the intelligent rapport that exists between Gharem and Zobernig’s works and the importance of their individual practices for aesthetic and socio-cultural reasons.”

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