Based on the linked iconographies of the desert and the sea, desert images on steel plates are suspended, back-to-back, with sea images on canvas. Working with ideas of space, vastness and immensity, these images compress timelines of imagination and memory, and explore the possibilities of both exile and purification.
Desert forms made of rust from sea water are then burnished with acid and sand. Using the very same elements explored as a medium, they are burned into the steel, like a daguerreotype in the sun. Taken together with the work on boulders and the sea, a play between calcified liquid and stones reveals itself, as does a play between earth in suspended motion and static sand. Above and between the desert and seascapes, a video installation projected onto the ceiling – an underwater aquarium placed within the topography of the desert – creates a visual rendition of the sea and sand in dialogue.
The result is a fantasy environment that engages the audience in a novel aesthetic so that the visitor experiences space, motion, liquid and solid in all its forms – producing a sense of being at once within, outside, and underneath the elements. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support of Mr. Majd Nuri Shafiq, The Harvard Alumni Society of the UAE, and K&G.