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Letitia Gallery opens a solo exhibition by Basir Mahmood
Basir Mahmood, All divided equally, 2018. Inkjet print on Museo Max, 150 by 100 cm each (diptych). Courtesy of the artist.


BEIRUT.- Letitia Gallery announces Eyes Recently Seen, a solo exhibition by Basir Mahmood. Curated by Lauren Wetmore, the show presents new and existing photographic and video works which reveal the distinctive processes by which the artist recreates his own visual experiences. Fascinated by the structures of daily life – labour, hierarchy, distribution and identity – Mahmood’s photographs and videos occupy a space between staged scenes and spontaneous documentation.

In Eyes Recently Seen, works from the past five years of Mahmood’s practice – including meditations on fishermen (Message to the Sea, 2012) and blessed water (Holy water from Mecca, 2015) – are shown together with new pieces that investigate communal human consumption. Taken together, the works demonstrate the artist’s position in relation to the various social structures which they reflect.

For the new works in the exhibition, including Milk (2018) and All Good Things (2018), Mahmood composed the activity of individuals from various occupations, including day-laborers and milk sellers, in a Lahore film studio. The participants were invited to enact their vocations, to explore the nuances of human interaction.

The new diptych, All Divided Equally (2018), continues Mahmood’s fascination with the societal division of resources by depicting an abundance of food, each item cut exactly in half to create a multitude of diptychs. The resulting tableaux considers the outcome of equality in distribution.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.

Basir Mahmood, artist: "I am interested in exploring my position as an artist by adopting multiple roles including: as an author who writes narratives; an initiator who sets in motion collisions of people and improvised scenarios to create original stories; as an observer who teleports in or out of the everyday situations he is observing to see intimately from within and from without; and as a withdrawn subject, for example as a disengaged onlooker on a main street.”

Lauren Wetmore, curator: “Many themes from Basir Mahmood’s work will be relevant to the Beirut context, from picturing an interdependent relationship between humans and the sea to exploring the societal position of so-called ‘unskilled’ laborers. Basir’s work brings an array of contexts and themes in sharp focus through his process – the way he allows us to transcend the distinction between how an artist sees the world versus how the world is seen.”

Basir Mahmood (b. 1985 Lahore, Pakistan) reflects on the social and historical terrain of the ordinary, using photography and video to create poetic sequences characterized by closely observed individuals, objects and rituals. Most recently, Mahmood participated in the 10th Berlin Biennale: We Don’t Need Another Hero (Berlin, 2018) and completed the Rijksakademie residency program (Amsterdam, 2016-2017). His work has shown in exhibitions internationally, including Contour Biennale 8 (Mechelen, 2017); The Abraaj Group Art Prize: Syntax and Society (Dubai, 2016); Time of Others at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo, 2015); Sharjah Biennial 11 (Sharjah, 2013); and The Garden of Eden at Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2012). Mahmood studied at the Beaconhouse National University (Lahore) and completed a 2011 fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart). Basir Mahmood is currently based between Amsterdam and Lahore.





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