Abdullah Al Saadi
Sites of Memory, Sites of Amnesia

★★★☆☆

Curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh
On until 24 November 2024

Al Saadi’s storytelling performance is pitched near faultlessly at the cloud generation. The exhibition’s user experience rivals that of the Apple Store. A rusty but airy steel and glass interior funnels the captive viewers towards the pavilion’s Genius Bar where the artist’s highest-prized wares are on display in ornate tins, boxes, and crates. Each contains a tale, a poem, or a little drawing. Line-perfect assistants interpret these tirelessly, though one is left to imagine that even their ad-libs have been tightly scripted. 

Al Saadi thus smuggles rustic tales of the Middle East into the YouTube unboxing video and draws pencil-thin lines between the date grove and the universal experience of TikTok. That this strategy is commercial rather than artistic is revealed only by the project’s performative slips and frictions and the frankly excessive resources used to communicate so little.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Paulina Olowska at Pace ★★★★☆

Paulina Olowska

Squelchy Garden Mules and Mamunas

★★★★☆

It should be within the resources of Pace and Olowska’s experience to advance her legend beyond the discretely marketable.

Nicola Turner, Edward Bekkerman at Shtager&Shch ★★☆☆☆

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The Song of Psyche: Corners of a Soul's Otherworlds

★★☆☆☆

Who opens a space in Fitzrovia only to fill it with such drivel?

Avery Singer, Free Fall at Hauser & Wirth ★★☆☆☆

Avery Singer

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★★☆☆☆

This show would be better without the baggage of the artist’s personal story and even better without the Twin Towers altogether.

Francesca DiMattio, Wedgwood at Pippy Houldsworth ★★★☆☆

Francesca DiMattio

Wedgwood

★★★☆☆

In DiMattio’s giant ceramics kiln, everyday motifs like sneakers and knickers clash into the ornate Rococo stove and the Victorian China snuff box.

Xie Nanxing, Hello, Portrait! at Thomas Dane ★★★★☆

Xie Nanxing

Hello, Portrait!

★★★★☆

Looking at Xie’s portraits is a little like wearing a virtual reality headset over only one eye.

Lutz Bacher, AYE! at Raven Row ★★★★☆

Lutz Bacher

AYE!

★★★★☆

There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition.

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