Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist, Hoor Al Qasimi, ed. Monograph. 320 pages, 250 illustrations; 17 x 24 cm. Published by Sharjah Art Foundation and Koenig Books, London, 2020. Photo: Todd Bradway


Sharjah Art Foundation today announced the release of the highly anticipated Hassan Sharif monograph I Am The Single Work Artist, published by Sharjah Art Foundation and Koenig Books, London. Edited by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, the publication presents the Foundation’s research into Sharif’s multidisciplinary practice. It includes images of lost works, original English translations from his journalistic and experimental writings, and archival materials from ephemeral exhibitions as well as dialogues and reflections by Sharif’s contemporaries in the UAE.

I Am The Single Work Artist is not a typical exhibition catalogue or chronology but an experimental work that reflects Sharif’s practice and weaves a personal narrative from the various threads of his career. The publication serves as a vital resource for scholarly and curatorial interest in contemporary art practice and as a reference for the ways in which cultural ideas travel and, in the process, are transformed.

The publication is available for sale on Amazon and it is now available in the UAE in major art and cultural spaces, and bookstores, including Art Jameel Shop, Booktopia, Jamalon.com, Jashanmal, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Kinokuniya and Tashkeel. Co-publisher Koenig Books is fulfulling international orders through their website and bookstores, meanwhile, DAP New York handles distributions in the Americas. In addition to the cultural institutions and bookstores, the publication is also available at the Sharjah Art Shops in Al Mureijah Art Spaces, Al Mureijah Square; Arts Square; and The Flying Saucer.

About I Am The Single Work Artist exhibition and Hassan Sharif

The release of the publication coincides with the European tour of the eponymous large-scale retrospective curated by Hoor Al Qasimi. Presented across Sharjah Art Foundation’s venues in 2017–2018, Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist then travelled to the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, in early 2020 and is now on view at Malmö Konsthall, Sweden, until 10 January 2021. Organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, KW Institute and Malmö Konsthall, the touring exhibition features more than 150 works from the artist’s diverse oeuvre, including early newspaper caricatures and comic strip drawings, paintings, sculptural installations and assemblage, many of which are found in the publication. This major retrospective is a culmination of Sharif’s long and storied history with the Emirate of Sharjah.

Recognised as a driving force in the transformation of the regional art community, Sharif was a pioneer of conceptual art and experimental practice in the Middle East. Moving between his roles as an artist, educator, critic and writer, Sharif encouraged the engagement of local audiences with contemporary art through his Arabic translations of historical art texts and manifestos as well as the founding of informal art spaces and ateliers. He was a co-founder of The Flying House, Dubai (2007); Art Atelier, Youth Theatre and Arts, Dubai (1987); Al Mureijah Art Atelier, Sharjah (1984); and Emirates Fine Arts Society, Sharjah (1980). All these organisations supported interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art in the Emirates through mentorship and exhibitions.

The Foundation has long been a patron and supporter of the late artist’s practice. Since 1993, Sharif’s work has been exhibited in eight Sharjah Biennials, most recently in Sharjah Biennial 12 (2015). His work has also been shown in 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, UAE Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015), which was curated by Al Qasimi. Over 90 of Sharif’s most significant works have been acquired for the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, and the Foundation is also the custodian of Sharif’s studio and personal archives.

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About Hoor Al Qasimi

Hoor Al Qasimi is President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. Her recent curatorial projects include solo exhibitions of the works of Tarek Atoui (2020), Zarina Bhimji (2020), Amal Kenawy (2018), Hassan Sharif (2017), Yayoi Kusama (2016), Robert Breer (2016), Farideh Lashai (2016), Rasheed Araeen (2014) and Susan Hefuna (2014). She was co-curator for Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige: Two Suns in a Sunset (2016) and major surveys such as When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965) (2016) and The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present) (2016). Co-curator of Sharjah Biennial 6 (2003), she has since continued as Biennial Director. She curated the UAE National Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2015) and the second Lahore Biennale (2020).

President of the International Biennial Association; Chair of the Board, Sharjah Architecture Triennial; Chair of the Advisory Board, College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharjah; and President of The Africa Institute, Sharjah, Al Qasimi serves on the Board of Directors for MoMA PS1, New York; Kunst-Werke Berlin e. V.; and Ashkal Alwan, Beirut as well as advisory boards for Khoj, New Delhi and Darat al Funun, Amman. She is also a member of the Prince Claus Award Committee (2016–present).

About Koenig Books

Koenig Books, London, is a publisher and bookstore specialising in art, architecture and other contemporary cultural practices. They have long distributed art books not only through their bookstores but also through a network of dealers and representatives in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Southern Europe and the United States. Prior to the publication of Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (2020), Sharjah Art Foundation and Koenig Books co-published Two Suns in a Sunset (2016), an ambitious trilingual (Arabic, English, French) monograph on artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, and Horsemen Adore Perfumes and Other Stories (2013), a publication exploring conceptual notions of narrative in Wael Shawky’s practice.

About Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions; and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.

Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world. Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international non-profits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third-largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and was designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.

Media Contacts

Sharjah Art Foundation:
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa, alyazeyah@sharjahart.org, +971(0)65444113