We are very pleased to announce that Shadi Habib Allah is now represented by Green Art Gallery. Shadi is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is at the crossroads of installation, video art and recently kinetic sculpture.
Born in Jerusalem in 1977, Shadi received a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in 2003 and has recently completed an MFA from Columbia University.He was twice awarded 2nd Prize for the Young Artist Award from the A.M. Qattan Foundation, and has attended residencies at Cittadelarte, Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy and Gasworks in London, England. He has participated in exhibitions at the Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah, Tate Modern, London, and the Palestine c/o Venice at the 2009 Venice Biennale. He lives and works in New York.
Unlike other contemporary artistic productions, his practice is free of any elements that signify a certain region or emphasizes his locality by means of conveying denotative signs that imply geo-cultural coordinates.
In this earlier work, such as Untitled 2004, an installation that was realized at the Qattan Foundation in Ramallah, Shadi investigated issues related to the human condition in our present time where the work played on themes of death, fear and weakness. In this work the artist transformed a room into a morgue-like space filling it with blue light and lowering the room temperature. A grid of plaster cast rubbish bin lids on one wall resembled a body storage facility and two cartoon-like mouse figures standing on a mountain at the far end of the room introduced an element of the surreal and fantastical. The mice refer to laboratory experiments and the tension and contradiction that arises in human’s exploitation of life in order to overcome death.
In “Ok, Hit but Dont Run” ( 2009 ), an animation and multichannel video which was shown at the Palestine c/o Venice, Habib Allah has produced a work whose first point of departure is the elimination of the popular Palestinian symbolism. Rather he produced an animation where he made hundreds of drawings of hominoid figures and, as in his earlier work, gave the figure or “mechanical form” with human attributes. However these figures are stripped of any emotive or symbolic references yet they enact the cycle of life, procreation, birth and death.
In 2010, Habib Allah produced the project entitled “Scale Calibrator”, a collection of weights, measuring precisely the check-in allowance for baggage on flights. This upends the traditional relationship between authority and objective standards, transferring agency to the individual.
Through the examination of our relationships to systems of infrastructure, class identification and hierarchies of authority, he reworks existing structures or makes images of images in ways that eventually erase or replace the original, until it is unclear what is original and what is the copy. Anecdotes with an air of humor, born of skepticism for power systems including the art world, function as a pretext for more complex topics. His work is not about the object or the artifact itself. It is about the reconstruction or subversion of existing objects. In this way, his practice questions received ideas of use and value and the power structures that hold them in place.
This is significantly apparent in his most recent video entitled ” The King and the Jester”, a 25 min video shot in an auto paint and body shop in Miami. Recording the languages and power relations between workers in the shop ( although there were some conversations which were scripted) Habib Allah depicts how race and power are articulated in a banal manner in this idiosyncratic place.
Here are some reviews on the work: