Al Braithwaite at Rose Issa Projects – artmarketblog.com
Terrorism is a touchy subject at the best of times so for an artist to tackle issues of terrorism in their work is a bit of risky move. Chances are that the results will either seem like an obvious attempt to attract attention or appear overly kitsch as has been the case with the work of many artists in the past. German born artist Al Braithwaite, however, has managed to create of body of work that tackles the issues of terrorism in a witty yet genuine manner. Braithwaite’s latest solo exhibition titled ‘Museum No. 1: Hizbollah’s Caviar’ is currently on show at Rose Issa Projects in London and consists of a variety of objects and images that explore the differences as well as the similarities between the cultures that breed terrorism and the culture of western society.
Show press release:
The Artist set out in 2002 with the aim of bridging the gap opened by warfare using the common language of art and humanity. Having sold his possessions, he left London with an idealistic group of artists to live in the Middle East. Al spent six years working and travelling in Turkey, Iran, Kurdistan, Emirates, Oman, Saudie Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon. In 2002 Al travelled extensively with ‘Off Screen’, a nomadic collective of Artists, and co-authored a book ‘Off Screen: Four young artists in the Middle East (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2004).
Al’s first solo exhibition in London is the result of his six years travels, or as he puts it “Six years distilled into One piece of Art (‘4kg of World’)”. The exhibition at Rose Issa Projects includes a limited edition Artist book ‘Museum No. 1: Hizbollah’s Caviar’, as well as new work including; ‘The Gunduster’ – a decommissioned rifle with a feather duster protuding from the barrel instead of bulletes; ‘Free Lunch’ – a replica of a tudor Gothic style window from Trinity College Cambridge, containing military link with castell pencils; and “From the Orient in Siphonaptera 13” – a Sapele Mahogany 10 drawer cabinet, modelled on a Miriam Rothschild 13th flea cabinet at the Natural History Museum in London.
The exhibition is a conceptually-rich response to a patch of history dominated on many fronts by War on Terror anxiety (and what Braithwaite calls ‘Junk Bulletin Hypertension’ leading to multiple strains of ‘Congenital Mistrust,’ ‘Media Obesity’ and ‘Flagburning Bloodlust’). The nub of the leatherbound tome – a kind of provocative fusion of found texts, drawings, bullets, prayer beads and photographs – seems to cast new light on both sides of a political thoroughfare, and create a thought-provoking thrust through the various intractable layers of conflict. The unique juxtaposition of ideas, the sharpness and clarity of the artist’s vision, and the thousand-mile quirkiness of the assemblages made from rubbish and found objects are what distinguish the collection.
Prices range from £2,800 + vat for a limited edition artist book to £5,000 + vat for ‘The Gunduster’.
Al recently exhibited at the XVA Gallery in Dubai, UAE (15-22 March, 2009). Braithwaite has exhibited internationally; in Tehran, Muscat, Amman, London, New York and Amsterdam. Exhibitions include FBI and Chocolate: A Public Installation, Penn Station, Baltimore, MD, USA (2007), Off Screen: Axis of Evil at Briggs Robinson Gallery, New York City, NY (2004), Deepression (2004) and Deeper Depression (2006) at Atbin Gallery, Zangar Gallery and Zahad Gallery, Tehran, Iran (2004; 2006), Off Screen: New Blood at Orfali Gallery, Amman, Jordan (2003). Braithwaite’s work is in collections including the British Council, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) and the Royal Jordanian Collection.
‘Museum No. 1: Hizbollah’s Caviar’ is at Rose Issa Projects in London from 23 April to 16 May. Rose Issa is an independent curator, producer and writer specialising in the visual arts and films of the Middle East and North Africa.
Rose Issa Projects is located at 269 kensington High street, London W 8 6NA
0207 602 770
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.