Nadim Karam. Urban Zoo
29 Aug–10 Oct 2013 at Ayyam Gallery, Beirut
Ayyam Gallery Beirut is pleased to present Urban Zoo, a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculpture by acclaimed Lebanese artist, writer and architect Nadim Karam. The exhibition will open on 29 August 2013, 7pm.
Nadim Karam uses painting and sculpture to develop his characters and narratives, frequently returning to the symbol of 'The Cloud' to represent freedom and escape in a changing landscape. The artist is renowned for his public sculpture projects which he uses to humanise urban spaces. Karam encourages interaction with the public sculpture he creates; referring to them as Urban Toys, he invites people to consider the space around these surreal forms; to touch and climb them, and adopt them as part of the living cityscape.
On show at Ayyam Gallery Beirut will be a series of Crystal pieces, through which Karam further develops the ideas found in his large scale architectural interventions across the globe. Here they are scaled down to provide the viewer an intimate experience with an object, rather than encountering a structure in an expansive urban space. Domestic and functional buttons masquerade as precious stones in the jewelled Queen of Hearts (2013) and the iridescent monochrome Peacock House (2013). Karam tell stories through the brightly coloured, abstracted forms, borrowing from existing mythology and fairy tales.
Karam will also present a series of small scale stainless steel sculptures drawing from his vocabulary of recurring characters and symbols. The figures making up this series are shown in profile and formed from intricate lattice work, giving them a sense of lightness. Dream Girl (2013) has wings in place of arms, lifting them to take flight; in Couple (2013), two joyful figures run in unison, hands entwined; while Elephant (2013) stands proud and unyielding. Forms embedded in the framework of these sculptures invite the viewer to uncover characters and narratives hidden within the larger structure.
Several new paintings by Karam will feature in the exhibition, including paintings based on the emblematic shape of the elephant, and exploring the themes of the ‘Cultural Warrior’ and the ‘Urban Zoo’. A preview of several monumental new sculptures will also be on show in the Piazza of Platinum Tower outside of the gallery for a period of the exhibition; these large-scale sculptures will be a highlight of Karam’s forthcoming show at Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz opening in Dubai on 30 September 2013.