Hassan Sharif, Cotton (still), 2013. Cotton and single-channel HD video, silent, 20 x 67 x 46 cm, 8 minutes 26 seconds. Courtesy Estate of Hassan Sharif and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai.



4 November 2017 – 3 February 2018
Al Mureijah Square and Bait Al Serkal
Al Mureijah and Al Shuwaiheen Areas

This Autumn, Sharjah Art Foundation presents a landmark retrospective of pioneering conceptual artist Hassan Sharif, marking the largest and most comprehensive survey of the Emirati artist’s work to date. On view from 4 November 2017 to 3 February 2018, Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist traces nearly five decades of the artist’s multimedia practice, including painting, sculpture, assemblage, drawing, installation and photography, as well as never-before-seen late works by the artist. The entirety of Sharif’s studio—recently donated to SAF by the artist’s estate—will also be on view for the first time, providing new perspective on the artist’s practice.

Curated by Sharjah Art Foundation President and Director Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, I Am The Single Work Artist is the culmination of the artist’s lifelong role as an advocate and pioneer for the development of contemporary art and thought in the United Arab Emirates and in Sharjah, where he first began staging interventions and exhibitions of contemporary art.

I Am The Single Work Artist is organised thematically and traces the development of Sharif’s conceptual art practice from 1973 to 2016, highlighting his unprecedented influence through key series that he revisited throughout his life, and which illustrate his enduring social and philosophical reflections on mathematical systems, time and the banality of the everyday.

Some of the earliest works featured in the exhibition are Sharif’s newspaper caricature and comic strips of the 1970s, which predate his radical shift towards experimentation and conceptualism. They reveal his prevailing interest in the rapid industrialisation and globalisation of the United Arab Emirates. The exhibition also features what are perhaps his best-known ‘weaving’ series of assemblages and ‘urban archaeology objects,’ which were created from inexpensive and mass-produced consumer materials and, for Sharif, represented the transformation of industrial excess into art. In addition, Sharif’s ‘semi-systems’ of the 1980s, also included, reveal the artist’s fascination with constructing intricate systems and methodologies. Often taking the form of drawings, these works illustrate playful procedures and rules of repetition developed by the artist, which are carried out on paper and result in geometric shapes and forms.

‘Hassan Sharif was a dear friend and strong advocate for the contemporary art community here in Sharjah,’ said Al Qasimi. ‘We are so humbled to have worked with him since his presentation at the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993, and to have witnessed his incredible impact through the years... Now, we will come full circle in mounting this significant retrospective in Sharjah, a city that was not only a site of intense artistic production for the artist, but also a place he greatly enriched through his teaching and community activities.’

Free and open to the public, the exhibition will span all of Sharjah Art Foundation’s spaces in the Al Mureijah Square area and Bait Al Serkal. SAF will also publish a comprehensive, bilingual (Arabic/English) catalogue, including essays by the artist and by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, Emirati artist Mohammed Kazem and Emirati poet Rashid al-Khalid. Following the presentation in Sharjah, I Am The Single Work Artist will travel to partner venues internationally.

About Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE and the region. Since 2009, SAF has built on the history of cultural collaboration and exchange that began with the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993. Working with local and international partners, we create opportunities for artists and artistic production through our core initiatives, which include the Sharjah Biennial, the annual March Meeting, residencies, production grants, commissions, exhibitions, research, publications and a growing collection. Our education and public programmes focus on building recognition of the central role art can play in the life of a community by promoting public learning and a participatory approach to art. All our events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.sharjahart.org.

Media Contacts

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa: +971 6 544 4113 / alyazeyah@sharjahart.org