Navine G. Khan-Dossos
April 13 – May 13, 2017
Fridman Gallery is pleased to present, Infoesque, the gallery's first solo exhibition of British artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos.
Since 2014, Khan-Dossos has closely followed the media narratives around Daesh: those produced by western news outlets and, more importantly, those manufactured from within the organization. Instead of focusing on the content of this propaganda, Khan-Dossos has looked to the structures and forms that support and mediate the material released.
Infoesque features Expanding and Remaining (2016), 36 panel paintings that make up the layout of Issue 5 of Dabiq magazine, a multi-language publication aimed at foreign recruits and a source of news stories for western media outlets. The series explores the identity of the magazine as an object, originally designed to be viewed in spreads but, given its digital nature, only ever read as a vertically scrolling PDF. The paintings aim to give physical presence to a propaganda device that, as a downloadable file, remains ephemeral and corruptible. The content is reduced to columns and blocks of color where text and image once were, focusing our attention on the compositions of information.
Infoesque (2017) is a new series of larger works on canvas that explore the design strategies of Rumiyah magazine, which took over the propaganda mantel when Dabiq ceased publication in October 2016. The pages are presented as posters focusing deliberately on the use of Islamic art and data visualizations as two forms of authoritative aesthetics deployed by Daesh in their self-branding. These works pick out uneasy pairings of Islamic arabesques with military campaigns, and calligraphic swirls with warnings of the hell fire waiting for the unbelievers.
Through the medium of painting, Khan-Dossos explores the role of art as a site of transformation, using a limited and functional palette of CMYK and RGB that reference the worlds of printed material and screen, melding these into an almost too-bright palette for her subjects. Preferring gouache to oils, she quotes the material history of advertising sketches and miniature paintings, working at pace to emulate the act of labor of the unknown graphic author of the magazine layouts she copies, looking for a moment of connection across the political divide.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog featuring a specially commissioned piece of short fiction The Sacred Meme Magic by independent curator, critic and artist Mohammad Salemy.
program of events
Thursday April 13, 6pm
Artist in conversation with Matt Ipcar, Executive Creative Director at Blue State Digital and a Principal Design Leader for both Obama presidential campaigns. The discussion will be moderated by James Bridle, an artist, writer and technologist based in Athens.
Khan-Dossos (b. 1982) studied History of Art at Cambridge University, Arabic at Kuwait University, Islamic Art at the Prince’s School of Traditional Art in London, and holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. In 2014/2015, she was a participant at the Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht (NL). She currently lives and works in Athens, Greece.
She has exhibited and worked with various institutions, including The Museum of Islamic Art (Doha), Witte de With (Rotterdam), The Delfina Foundation (London), The Library of Amiens (Amiens), Leighton House Museum (London), The Benaki Museum (Athens) and the A.M. Qattan Foundation (Ramallah). She has published work in The White Review and The Happy Hypocrite.
Catalog, with essay by Mohammad Salemy and introduction by Iliya Fridman