VW (VeneKlasen/Werner) is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Ahmed Alsoudani. This is the artist's first exhibition with VeneKlasen/Werner and features works created during 2013.
Ahmed Alsoudani's large-scale works in drawing and painting on canvas appear at first glance to comprise a contemporary deconstruction of all-over gestural abstraction. Deeper contemplation of the works reveals the artist's ongoing interest in Max Beckmann, Chaim Soutine's grotesque disfigurations and the carnivalesque compositions of Peter Saul. Yet in Alsoudani's work there is more at stake than the formal re-invention of painting. His subject is the horror of war and its chaotic aftermath. Corruption, exploitation and abuse are the particular focus of this new group of paintings. Understanding Alsoudani's firsthand experience of such tragedy is essential to grasping the gravity of his endeavor. He left his homeland of Iraq in 1995 before moving to the United States. That the violent conflicts in Iraq and throughout the region should occupy a central place in the artist's oeuvre is not surprising; yet specifics of culture and location are conspicuously absent from his paintings. Mediated through the language of history painting and the broader history of painting itself, Alsoudani looks beyond his own turbulent life experiences to address the universality of destruction, displacement and suffering. His contemporary history is told with the global vocabulary of violence and its repercussions, forcing us to contemplate our shifting roles as both the perpetrators and the victims of war.
Ahmed Alsoudani was born in Baghdad in 1975. He studied at the Maine College of Art (BFA) and Yale University School of Art (MFA) and has exhibited his work internationally. In 2011 he represented his country at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Solo exhibitions include Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; Portland Museum of Art; and Phoenix Art Museum. His works are held in numerous collections including the François Pinault Collection, Wadsworth Atheneum and Virginia Museum of Art. He currently lives and works in New York City.