All attention to the art

I don’t know when this architecture tradition started, but I believe most of us are familiar with it. You enter a giant building, and at the entrance, you come across a glass box displaying the building’s scale model/maquette. You are inside the building, yet you are observing a miniature rendition of the building from above.

If you visited Las Vegas City Hall last month, at the entrance you would have stood in front of a full-scale maquette for a housing studio built out of cardboard on 160 sq ft. This maquette represents one of the weekly-rental studios that are spread all over the city. It may also remind you of the housing projects that the city and its civil society afford for the homeless. But when you get close, you will find a modest label with the artist’s name on it: Nima Abkenar.

The maquette/artworks invite you to enter. No doors to open. You walk into a small kitchen, a space intended for the bed, and a couple of squares allotted for the restroom. In the end, you are confronted by a wall with fluorescent lights hanging on it. Fluorescence is Nima’s fingerprint; we could spot it in most of his artworks, an aesthetic he took from his home city where fluorescent lights are widely used on mosques and shrines.

Outside of the city hall building, swarms of homeless and vagrants were taking over the streets, sleeping under the shade if they found it, or roving around in a circle that led nowhere.

I couldn’t separate the homeless situation in Las Vegas from Nima’s installation at the city hall, where people who work daily in the building are the ones who are responsible for finding a solution to this problem.

But this was my perception of an art project that has other layers and roots. Some of them go back to Nima himself, who arrived as an immigrant here only to end up revolting against the art school at UNLV and the Art Institutes of Las Vegas — although he lost and was spurned by them for several years. Now he was showing his work in the most official place in the city, revolting against the kitsch/cliché art that dominated Las Vegas’ public image for decades.

Read the full article here: https://medium.com/@as.naje/all-attention-to-the-art-49ca339da7ee

‏ ‏Viktor Dyndo’s uncut impressions‎

An overwhelming sense of excitement and familiarity arises the moment the viewer’s eye falls on Viktor Dyndo’s work. Familiarity is caused by the flag-burning image, which has become a political fetish crowding the Internet and television.

ألف ليلة وليلة- من أعمال فيكتور

On the other hand, excitement is associated with the intense appearance of symbols in an extraordinary atmosphere. However, Dyndo’s flag-burning image, which frequents television coverage of mass demonstrations, does not propagandise a message. The exception is, nonetheless,  his lampoons of ‘the liar Internet’ in several paintings. Perhaps, Dyndo’s paintings on display in this exhibition carry eluding messages; the artist has probably shifted this task to the viewer.  

Initially, the viewer has the impression that there is a kind of communication between him/her and the paintings. Although contemporary art has become more complicated, nebulous and  intriguing,  Dyndo’s introduced stereotyped images and symbols, such as the national flags, politicians popular on television, and controversial images recurring in the media.  

However, familiarity and excitement quickly subside, creating a perplexing atmosphere. The viewer feels that the ground is moving as s/he searches the painting for a keyword(s).  

Although Dyndo’s symbols and images are not extraordinary, they do not display signs, which could draw our attention to the artist’s political leanings. He must be inviting the viewer to examine his technique and colour so closely and attentively that s/he could come across the artist’s eluding message therein.  

Dyndo must be aware that visitors, while touring his exhibition, would not stop browsing through their mobile phones. He has concerns that the visitors would do likewise by mistaking his paintings for being downloads. Therefore, the artist seeks a technique of intrigue, which could appeal to the visual language of the contemporary Internet captives. He cleverly treated  his images to produce new values, which could persuade the viewers to associate them with images recurring day and night, such as the images downloaded on the Internet’s, news highlights on television, [YouTube] uncut videos, images associated with political propaganda or the visual icons of nationalist regimes.  

Despite the vogue for the conceptual art, Dyndo keenly sought a conventional medium—the canvas—to express his ideas. He deliberately sought oil colours—not acrylic—to create a sense of a halo around the image. 

Dyndo named his oeuvre in this exhibition “The Internet Telling Lies”. His oil paintings are horizontal; their dimensions are equal to the laptop’s or the dimensions of the book cover. As a result, the viewers find these paintings familiar, reminding them of the contemporary man’s first sources of images.

Nonetheless, Dyndo’s oil paintings and his isolated symbols reveal the vast distance between the work and the political meaning the symbol could bear. The artist is fully aware that symbols bear different meanings in different environments. For example, Eastern and Western cultures would appreciate the same symbol differently.

Dyndo’s artistic experiment is the product of two different cultures. The artist (b.1983) studied art in Poland and Egypt. He also exhibited his impressions in several Arab and Western countries.  An image of intersected Polish and Saudi flags gives an impression in Poland different from that, which an Arab culture would stir up.  The portrait of the Pope of the Vatican surmounting the statement “The Internet Telling Lies” must be stirring up a multitude of interesting interpretations.

Danod’s art provokes suspicions. Open-minded visitors should not close their eyes. They should pay close attention to the whirlwind of images and paintings. That Dyndo is maintaining that the Internet is telling lies should draw our attention to the fact that reality is not a mansion built in the middle of a garden; perhaps, reality is concealed under a brushstroke in the surface of the canvas.             

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