Raw Cooked

1 Apr — 13 May 2017 at the AB43 Contemporary in Zurich, Switzerland

10 APRIL 2017
Raw Cooked. Courtesy of AB43 Contemporary
Raw Cooked. Courtesy of AB43 Contemporary

Al Mazrouei is a multiform personality, comfortably shifting between the various arts, literature, poetry, cinema and visual arts. All these elements are intertwined and reflected by his various artistic creations, from his paintings and drawings to his poems and novels. His paintings, not unlike his poetry, display naiveté and violence all at once, reflecting deep desires and complex philosophical ideas about the status of culture, especially in the Arab world.

The new cycle of works titled "Raw Cooked" is based on Al Mazrouei's experience while working at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi in 1997. It was the Foundation's aim to follow in the footsteps of the great medieval traveller and scholar Ibn Battuta in order to create new informational and geographical investigations of his extensive travels over a period of thirty years. On a preliminary visit to the Egyptian component of the trip, Al Mazrouei came across the city of Fuwa, located in the upper north of Egypt and famous for its fabric and making of carpet, kilim, and tapestry. During his visit to Fuwa, the idea of transforming some of his artworks into carpet transpired. Inspired by maps and paintings in sizes different from the usual carpet size, and made in traditional loom through corrugation, these works were fabricated over the course of ten years, as Al Mazrouei went back to Egypt frequently.

Al Mazrouei's works, which are often portraits, are categorised as part of the Neo-Expressionist movement. Thick, strong lines, dark eyes and the omission of body parts are the crucial elements of his paintings. He never uses colour moderately or subtly but always clearly and strikingly. His paintings, not unlike his poetry, display naiveté and violence all at once, reflecting deep desires and complex philosophical ideas about the status of culture, especially in the Arab world.

I have a strong foundation in writing and painting, two forms of expression that require a great amount of effort on my part. I have the freedom to experiment with forms and figures, creating mere shadows and silhouettes. With my art I allude to the ephemeral.

(Mohamed Al Mazrouei)