About The Work
Al Salem reintroduces space and time, as in Simultaneity (2019) which carries the current of this age of constancy, while encompassing expansive potential. Simultaneity 2 (2019) uses thuluth script and the action of reflection to introduce a slight deferral and separation. The phrase is enfolded within the letter ع to gesture powerfully within and beyond itself, encompassing before
and after in a single compacted expression to suggest ways to move beyond the conventional sequencing of time.
In particular, the works articulate varied reflections on the exponential changes that are
reshaping Saudi society, each piece a still point that unfurls a gesture through time and
space – to what has been and towards what lies ahead. Through contortions and experiments in two and three dimensions, Al Salem telescopes the monumentality of historical time into the rapid convulsions of the present, opening and contracting spaces to question – ‘what follows?’ and ‘what else?’.
b. 1984, Mecca, lives and works in Jeddah, KSA) his artistic practice challenges the boundaries of the traditional Islamic art of calligraphy by re-contextualizing it in unconventional mixed media forms and conceptual potential through minimalist and architectural methods. Al-Salem trained as an architect and studied calligraphy in the Haram Al-Sharif and achieved an ‘Ijaza’ certificate – the highest form of recognition and authorization to transmit the art of calligraphy. He is co-founder for Al-Hangar, an artist collective based in Jeddah, as well as a member of the National Guild of Calligraphers and an active fellow of Saudi Arabia’s Arts and Culture Group.
Al-Salem’s solo shows; Amma Baad, at Delfina Foundation, London . Amma Baad, Casa Arabe, Madrid, Spain , State of Affairs, Athr Gallery, Jeddah , And It Remains, Athr Gallery, Jeddah .
Al-Salem’s work has been part of numerous group exhibitions including: Desert X Al Ula ; Al Burda, Abu Dhabi; Ekphrasis, Writing in Art, Villa Empain, Brussels ; Cities Of Convictions, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Utah; Epicenter X: Contemporary Saudi Art, Arab American National Museum, Detroit ; Common Grounds, Villa Stuck, Munich ; Rhizoma, Edge of Arabia, Venice Biennale; Echoes, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City ; Nour/Light]; Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, The British Museum, London .
Founded in 2009 by Hamza Serafi and Mohammed Hafiz, Athr is a Contemporary Art project space and gallery which enables artistic dialogue between contemporary artists across the world. Based in a 20,000 square feet/metric space in central Jeddah, Athr represents Middle Eastern and international artists. It provides a creative environment for artists and showcases international and Saudi contemporary art supported by extensive public programmes aimed at encouraging engagement with local audiences.