Ahmed Kamel, From the Series, Dreamy Day, 2004 – 2008
Ahmed Kamel is interested in domestic and urban life. He uses photography, video and drawing to address social issues. He was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1981, where he studied painting and received his BFA in 2003.
Kamel is the recipient of a number of residencies including “Mediamatic” Amsterdam, Netherlands, “Prohelvetia”, Bern, Switzerland, “Land NRW”, Dusseldorf, Germany and “Amongst Neighbours”, Istanbul, Turkey. He has participated in various solo and group exhibitions in the middle east and Europe.
His work is mainly concerned with how society constructs and idealizes its identity through means of visual representation that can act as markers of peopleʼs social and cultural background.
For his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Ming Wong creates a series of videos and scenic backdrops that reconsider the making of Roman Polanski’s seminal 1974 film Chinatown. Shot at Redcat, Wong’s reinterpretation, Making Chinatown, transforms the space into a studio backlot and examines the original film’s construction of language, performance and identity.
The artist plays all the roles originally belonging to Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston and Belinda Palmer, and crucial scenes are reenacted in front of printed backdrops digitally rendered from film stills and kept intact within the video installation. The wall flats adhere to the conventions of theatrical and filmic staging while taking on qualities of large-scale painting.
Wong has been recognized for his ambitious performance and video works that engage with the history of cinema and mass entertainment. Working through the visual styles and tropes of such iconic film directors as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wong Kar-wai and Ingmar Bergman, Wong considers the means through which subjectivity and geographic location are constructed by motion pictures.
Making Chinatown is Wong’s first project focused on the American context of filmmaking and draws upon its use of Los Angeles as a versatile and malleable character. Wong treats the film as a text and medium through which he is able to inhabit and impersonate the qualities that are particular to the place it represents. Making Chinatown mimics and reduces the techniques of mainstream cinema in order to emphasize the theatrical qualities that underlie cinematic artifice. Moreover, it analyzes how canonical works from American cinema are received and reconfigured by global audiences.
Curiosity’s first color image of the Martian landscape, August 6, 2012
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic space probe mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, which successfully landed Curiosity, a Mars rover, in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012. The overall objectives include investigating Mars’ habitability, studying its climate and geology, and collecting data for a manned mission to Mars. The rover carries a variety of scientific instruments designed by an international team.
MSL successfully carried out a more accurate landing than previous spacecraft to Mars, aiming for a small target landing ellipse of only 7 by 20 km, in the Aeolis Palus region of Gale Crater. This location is near the mountain Aeolis Mons (a.k.a. Mount Sharp). The rover mission is set to explore for at least 687 Earth days (1 Martian year) over a range of 5 by 20 km.
The Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort for the robotic exploration of Mars that is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of California Institute of Technology. The total cost of the MSL project is about US$2.5 billion.
Previous successful U.S. Mars rovers include Spirit and Opportunity, and Sojourner from the Mars Pathfinder mission. Curiosity is about twice as long and five times as heavy as Spirit and Opportunity Mars exploration rover payloads of earlier U.S. Mars missions, and carries over ten times the mass of scientific instruments.
Wael Shawky’s work explores transitional events in society, politics, culture and religion in the Arab World. The films, installations, and performative works of the Egyptian artist explore the ways in which social and political systems have been restructured in Arab countries over the past several decades.
Through restaging historical events with children and marionettes, Shawky turns cultural hybridization into a narrative and aesthetic strategy. Using displacement and alienation in content and form, he creates a transitional space between documentation, fiction, and animation.
Lovingly and meticulously produced settings and costumes, a wealth of literary and historic references, and astutely selected music come together to create extraordinarily multifaceted films that invite us to think about history and the present day in new ways.
Gestures related to the body and the exhibition space feature prominently in the work of Los Angeles-based artist Chadwick Rantanen who creates among others anodized telescopic sculptures with tennis balls affixed to the bottom which are held up by their own internal pressure.
Disseminated throughout a gallery space, and stretched from the floor to the ceiling, these frail sculptures with a combination of patterns and colors incise the white cube without clearly occupying it. By expanding or retracting them depending on the height of the space, the character of any particular installation is relative to its site, its proportions and form.
Iman Issa, Material for a sculpture representing a monument erected in the spirit of defiance of a larger power, 2010 and Making Places (c-print), Series of ten c-prints, 2007
Iman Issa, born 1979, Cairo, is an artist based in Cairo and New York.
The cryptic work of Iman Issa rarely denotes its subject matter nor reveals the artist’s creative process. In many of her recent projects, there is a tacit insistence that Issa’s materials – which include sculptural objects, photographs and video – speak of far more than their content suggests.
This is also true of Issa’s work in that most content-laden of media: fiction. Her book of one-page stories, Thirty-Three Stories about Reasonable Characters in Familiar Places (2011), which she considers both a work of literature and of art, almost completely omits names, places or adjectives. The stories are more like fragments in which the reader must locate a narrative arc from a brief spark of disappointment, a passing thought or a disagreement between a handyman and his client. Issa’s writing suggests that what ultimately characterizes a situation, event or concept may not lie in its own self-evident, specifically described form or content. Rather, it might extend itself from an association, a memory or an otherwise insignificant detail.
In making a work, Issa often proceeds as though she has a hypothetical relationship to the medium or subject matter, then alters her position during the development of the piece as a tactical measure. For example, in her series ‘Triptychs’ (2009), Issa created the three elements in each work by assuming a different artistic subjectivity in relation to a source. In Triptych #1, for instance, she began with a snapshot she had taken of a bland communal waterfront space. Treating the photograph as though she had never seen it before, Issa then developed a second piece in response. The third work in the triptych was likewise created as though she were unaware of the first two, and had simply imagined the connections between them. Whilst this may seem a curious process to adopt in order to communicate a personal memory or sensation – involving as it does more alienation than proximity – the elements of the triptychs nonetheless resonate with one another.
Her group and solo exhibitions include Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade, UKS, Oslo, 2009, 7th Gwangju Biennale, 2008, Cairoscape, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, 2008 , Making Places, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, 2008, Look Around, Arte Ricambi, Verona, 2008, Memorial to the Iraq War,ICA, London, 2007. Her video work has been screened at several venues including Tate Modern, London, Spacex, Exeter, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, and Bidoun Artists Cinema.
Mathew Cerletty, The Economist, 2007, oil on linen, Yoplait, 2007, colored pencil and gouache on paper and Epson, 2009 graphite on paper
Since the early 2000s, Mathew Cerletty has been earnestly stretching the possibilities of figurative painting while cleverly subverting much of what we have come to expect from both realism and hyperrealism. Transitioning from his early, psychologically compelling portraits to more abstracted takes on household products and text-based images, Cerletty has been probing some amazingly banal subject matter as a challenge to the transcendent promise of traditional painting and to his skills as a draftsman.
Mathew Cerletty was born on 1980 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin New York. Matthew Cerletty’s paintings encapsulate a cosmopolitan air with their voguish finish and ambivalent sexuality. Presenting a fragmented body, Cerletty’s untitled trade’s image for the fetish of gesture, his absent figure reduced to an intimation of style. Rendered as graphic form against an empty slate colored ground, Cerletty’s hands seem strangely foreign and empirical. Classically positioned, Cerletty sets his study as abstracted intrigue, his opaque white sleeve and purple nail polish convert the representational to formalist balance, constructing the sublime through the simplicity of casual expression.
Matthew Cerletty’s Untitled reconsiders the figure as an abstracted strategy of design. Set on a cold ground, his torso is centered as an obsessional focus of concentration. Rendered with painterly impasto, his shirt becomes a slacker study of illusionary space: its simplified cartoon form balancing between graphic flatness and 3D perspective, the stylised shadow alluding to sculptural form reinforces the planar surface. The addition of the hands converts Cerletty’s painting from compositional study to relational subject, infusing traditional line, shape, and tone with dandyish and charismatic personality.