Mohammed Z. Rahman

A Flame is a Petal

★★★☆☆

On until 13 July 2024

Groups of young people gather in social rituals in Rahman’s cartoon paintings. Boys drink beers at a backyard barbecue. Others smoke cigarettes by a bonfire. The girls, elsewhere, eat dinner. Their overconfident adventures with fireworks make the quintessence of childhood.

The settings of their get-togethers, however, are only the figments of the painter’s imagination. So is their youthful cheer. Rahman finds his friends in deserts and war zones. To offer them reprieve from their horrors, he builds for them a series of stage sets that simulate the comforts of home. 

Rahman’s zine hand makes this make-believe explicit but not plausible. Neither do the structures which frame his works in the gallery. His subjects’ stories – the most intriguing takes place in Mostar a decade after the city was besieged in the Bosnian war – are confused by the artist’s overstated, adolescent politics.


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

Helen Johnson, Opening at Pilar Corrias ★☆☆☆☆

Helen Johnson

Opening

★☆☆☆☆

This is the work of a mind that, having needlessly spent years in therapy, became hooked on ennui or of an artist who wasted time misreading Lacan.

Mohammad Ghazali, Trilogy: Then… at Ab-Anbar ★★★★☆

Mohammad Ghazali

Trilogy: Then…

★★★★☆

Repetition and framing are photography’s greatest tricks.

Eddie Ruscha, Seeing Frequencies at Cedric Bardawil ★☆☆☆☆

Eddie Ruscha

Seeing Frequencies

★☆☆☆☆

But either the curator or the artist should have known better.

Matthew Barney, SECONDARY at Sadie Coles HQ ★★★☆☆

Matthew Barney

SECONDARY: light lens parallax

★★★☆☆

Secondary turns the gallery into an American Football stadium. But all the seats in the house are the cheap seats and the game lacks a cheerleader.

Anna Barriball at Frith Street Gallery ★★☆☆☆

Anna Barriball

New Drawings

★★☆☆☆

The eyes may be the windows of the soul. To make an aphorism of the reverse needs more than shadow-play.

Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, I.W. Payne, Downtown at 243 Luz ★★★★☆

Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, I.W. Payne

Downtown

★★★★☆

This project has no room for breath and even less for context.

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