Installation view

Hassan Sharif: I am The Single Work Artist at KW Institute for Contemporary Arts, Berlin, 2020
Photos: Frank Sperling


The major Sharjah Art Foundation exhibition Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist is on view at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. Produced in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, the exhibition runs from 29 February through 3 May 2020, and is the first major retrospective of Hassan Sharif (1951 – 2016) in Europe. After its presentation in Berlin, the exhibition will travel to Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden from 18 September 2020 to 14 January 2021.

Tracing the aritst’s work from the early 1970s to 2016, the retrospective is a culmination of the Sharif’s long and storied history with the Emirate of Sharjah. The show at KW presents over 150 works from the artist’s diverse oeuvre, including early newspaper caricatures and comic strips, drawings, paintings, sculptural installations, and assemblage.

A pioneer of conceptual art and experimental practice in the Middle East, Hassan Sharif explored form, time, social action and mathematical systems throughout his career. Moving between roles as artist, educator, critic and writer, Sharif worked to encourage the engagement of local audiences with contemporary art through his Arabic translations of historical art texts and manifestos. He was a 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 exhibition.

Since 1993, Sharif’s work has also 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); and ADACH Platform for Visual Arts, 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). Over 90 of Sharif’s most significant works have been acquired by the Foundation and are part of the Sharjah Art Foundation collection. The Foundation is also custodian of Sharif’s studio and personal archives.

Originally curated by Sharjah Art Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi, the exhibition was first presented in 2017-18 and was the largest exhibition ever staged at the foundation.

A new publication on the artist’s work has been published to coincide with the opening in Berlin. Titled Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist, the publication is edited by Hoor Al Qasimi and co-published by Sharjah Art Foundation and Koenig Books, London.

This exhibition is produced in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE), KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Germany) and Malmö Konsthall (Sweden). The presentation at KW Institute for Contemporary Art is curated by Hoor Al Qasimi and Krist Gruijthuijsen, and at Malmö Konsthall by Hoor Al Qasimi and Mats Stjernstedt.

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