So long and thanks for all the fish | Group show at Lawrie Shabibi

Summer is here and all the brave ones beating the Dubai heat are treated to exciting new shows in Alserkal Avenue. Lawrie Shabibi bids farewell to the 2013/2014 art season with So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, a group exhibition, which title is inspired by Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book series. This thankful message, addressed by dolphins to planet Earth in Adams’ sci-fi novel, resonates in the common thread that brings four artists together on Lawrie Shabibi’s walls: the surreal.

It starts with Egyptian artist Basim Magdy and his mismatching juxtapositions of highly cynical phrases, laid on old photographs from his own collection. The works express Magdy’s frustrations over the situation in his native country, impacting his creative process.

Every Subtle Gesture series by Basim Magdy

Moving on, appear Adam Dix’s anachronistic paintings, in which zombie-like characters dropped into retro settings, are seen worshipping satellites and other modern communication devices, revealing today’s obsessive, can’t-live-without-technology world.

Silent Servitude by Adam Dix

In her video, Russian artist Taus Makhacheva condemns the absurdity of wedding traditions perpetuated in her country, where signs of wealth have to be displayed as profusely as can be. The rest doesn’t really matter. 

A Space of Celebration by Taus Makhacheva

The exhibition is complete with Iranian artist Tala Madani and her video criticizing the Middle Eastern, ultra masculine man, known for enjoying attention. Madani transforms this confident male by superposing eye cutouts on his figure, which he ultimately stabs because of a growing and unbearable insecurity.

Eye Stabber by Tala Madani

While its title might seem light and carefree, what this exhibition really brings up is a multitude of complex subjects, whether sociological, political or cultural. Turned into mockery by each artist, the issues of our present don’t become acceptable, but they most certainly are easier to ponder.

So Long and Thanks for all the Fist runs at Lawrie Shabibi till 17 July 2014

Photo credits
Images courtesy of Lawrie Shabibi