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Works by visionaries El-Salahi, Hammons, Brouwn on view in Amsterdam
On view at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery are black and white works from Ibrahim El-Salahi, including ink and paper drawings from his ‘By His Will’ series, and the more recent, dramatic ‘The Arab Spring Notebook’.

AMSTERDAM.- The Prince Claus Fund, together with the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts are presenting ‘Three Crossings: El-Salahi, Hammons, Brouwn’. This three-part exhibition features works by Ibrahim El-Salahi (Sudan, UK), David Hammons (USA), and Stanley Brouwn (Surinam, Netherlands) at three Amsterdam locations. The works by these three visionary artists are innovative, minimalist, and sharply critical, yet infused with wit and humour.

All three artists share a destiny and an identity as diasporic subjects. They have crossed boundaries historically and existentially, and through their innovative artistic practice, they also enriched global contemporary art.

“What ultimately attracted me to the work of these artists is the ethical position these three artists represent in the face of a hyper art market and highly corporatised art scene. Throughout their careers, they remain faithful to their visions, as prolific and innovative in spite of the racialised capitalist structure of the art market.” – Salah M. Hassan, curator of ‘Three Crossings’.

Conceived as multi-sited, this exhibition brings together works of three contemporary artists, the work of each installed in a different space in Amsterdam. The exhibition foregrounds each artist’s experimentation with the genre of the “artist’s book” yet also includes, in the cases of El Salahi and Brouwn, other relevant pieces that broaden our appreciation of their work.

The selected works are for the most part small in scale and minimalist in form, yet they speak volumes of the three artists’ criticality, sharpness and innovation, rarely matched among their contemporaries and peers.

Ibrahim El-Salahi (Sudan, 1930), a seminal figure in African and Arabic modernism and 2001 Prince Claus Laureate, combines African and Arabic traditions in new forms. A founding member of the influential Khartoum School movement in the 1960’s, El Salahi continued his studies in the UK and the USA and later served as Director of Culture for the Sudanese government. Following a period of incarceration when he was falsely accused of participating in a coup attempt, he went into exile in the UK. His works were featured in Tate Modern’s first retrospective on African Modernism in 2013. He has said that the black and white works in this exhibition are among his favourites.

David Hammons (USA, 1943) is one of the most important conceptual artists working today. In a career spanning over 50 years he has utilised a variety of media, often creating visual puns and including found objects to explore and comment on the realities of African-American life. Although he is considered one of the most influential American artists of the past half century, he avoids publicity, gives few interviews and sells his work from his studio rather than through gallery representation.

Stanley Brouwn (Surinam 1935 – Amsterdam 2017) Starting in 1962 and until his passing in May 2017, Stanley Brouwn had consistently insisted that his biography and art work not to be printed or reproduced in any publication related to exhibitions of his work. The brochures for Brouwn’s retrospective at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and MACBA in Barcelona (2005-2006) specified that his work is mainly “about measurements and real distances, any image of his work could only be seen as a distortion.” Abiding by Brouwn’s wish, and honouring his legacy, we decided not to include Brouwn’s biography, and to include instead blank pages in the booklet accompanying his exhibition at EENWERK.

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