Hassan Sharif / Iran/United Arab Emirates 1951–2016 / Cutting and tying no.2 2015 / Cotton rope and wool / 275 x 650 x 50cm / © Estate of Hassan Sharif and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai / Image courtesy: Estate of Hassan Sharif; Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai; Alexander Gray Associates, New York; gb agency, Paris

Hassan Sharif
Cutting and tying no.2 2015

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 1.1

In the large-scale, abstract wall hanging Cutting and tying no.2 2015, Hassan Sharif built up the textured surface by cutting rope and tying it with wool. In this work, Sharif contrasts the mass-production of the factory with the unevenness of the handmade. The irregular action of the human hand can be seen in the way the wool is wrapped around the rope; the rope itself is machine-made, and this is evident in the even twists of its woven strands. The waste from rapid consumption was a deep concern for the artist, and cutting and tying objects — and displaying them in museums and galleries — highlights the absurdity of our desire to consume.

Hassan Sharif is an influential figure in the history of conceptual art in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In addition to his own practice, he was responsible for introducing a generation of artists to conceptual and Fluxus practices. He also translated artist manifestos and art historical texts into Arabic, and founded organisations that countered the emerging ‘national style’ in the UAE. Sharif is recognised for his ‘objects’ series of works — imported or discarded materials tied together with wire or string. Incorporating Fluxus influences, his practice relates to the history of carpet-making in the region.

Contemporary context

How does Hassan Sharif:

  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?
  • employ imagery and/or display techniques to challenge aesthetic traditions?
  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How does Hassan Sharif:

  • generate ideas from her own experiences, imagination or memories?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How does Hassan Sharif:

  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?
  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How does Hassan Sharif:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?
  • share characteristics with art movements, times, places or events?