NEW YORK, NY.- Skoto Gallery
presents Selected Works 1962-2010 by Ibrahim El Salahi, an exhibition of dynamic drawings and paintings by the Sudanese-born artist. This is his second solo show at the gallery and the first U.S presentation of his work since his highly-acclaimed retrospective at the Tate Modern, London in 2013, which was organized by the Museum for African art, New York.
Ibrahim El Salahi is celebrated as a pioneer modernist and one of the most significant figures in African and Arab modernism. A leading light in the Khartoum School, he has made significant contributions to the development of post-colonial aesthetics and artistic ideology during the 1960s decade of independence and liberation movements in Africa. His work offers an intensely personal reflection of self, nurtured within the compass of individual and collective history, and in the context of global transformations. The concept of the subconscious is a powerful one and can be very much seen in his works high originality. He combines Islamic, Arab and African visual and textual traditions with a deep understanding of Western art principles to create work that is highly characteristic and clearly recognizable.
This show presents a strong selection of drawings and paintings from 1962-2010, spanning five decades of a distinguished career as an artist in continuous search for creative excellence. Included are unusually striking works from across the period that seamlessly blend his longstanding interest in the artistic exploration of form and composition with distinctive means of synthesizing aspects of Western art with Arabic calligraphy and diverse cultural traditions. His work encourages us to embrace a more expansive definition of modernity A master of harmony and dissonance in composition, Ibrahim El Salahi uses the contrast of stark and bold lines against intricate segments of detail and density in his work to reflect on intimate yet universal narratives. The colors and forms of his work explore other worlds and distant places that offer the viewer a freedom of imagination, interpretation and emotional responses.
They Always Appear, an early painting from 1964-65, that was included in his retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern, London last summer is one of several important works in this show. It is an outstanding canvas from his early years of self discovery and rigorous experimentation. A deeply meditative picture dense with infinite nuances, that expertly exploits the ambiguity that arises between abstract shapes and imagery as well as the intriguing play between formal intention and narrative potential. Imbued with remarkable elegance and lyrical beauty, it captures with vividness the Intensity of the creative energy that informed his emphatic declaration that there is no painting without drawing and there is no shape without line, in the end all images can be reduced to lines
Ibrahim El Salahi was born in Omdurman, Sudan in 1930. He studied in Khartoum and then the Slade School of Art, London in the 1950s. His work has been shown at venues such as PS1, New York; Tate Modern, London; Sharjah Museum, UAE; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Haus der Kunst, Munich. He is represented in numerous private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum, MOMA and Museum for Africa Art all in New York. Tate Modern, Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany, and National Gallery, Berlin He is a recipient of Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, The Order of Knowledge, Art and Letters, Sudan and the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development Honorary Award. He is in the current exhibition Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions, Museu Picasso, Barcelona, Spain, He lives and works in Oxford, England.