Karíma Al-Mukhtarová

I´m not what I seem

Mar 8, 2019 — Apr 3, 2019
Opening Friday 8. March 2019 18:00

Radek Wohlmuth

‘The current exhibition of Karíma Al-Mukhtar holds a quiet self-determining diction. Seemingly, it is a neat intervention into the private space of one’s self, and its subtlety and difficult classification are directly proportional to the lack of transparency of the inner terrain and its impenetrable organic emotionality. The corporate uniformity and informative overload networked into the society are the basis for a disoriented existence, and a stable feeling of dissonant un/certainty is becoming more and more the matter of day-to-day experience. The possibilities of dealing with that depend only on individual dispositions. In the case of Karmína Al-Mukhtar, the defense mechanism is the self-examination of personal archeology, focused objective introspection in the manner of handcrafting.

The basis for the ego space trip is a visual wondering about finding an identity, finding one’s self in things that get daily into our way, and repeated attempts to create the impossible. Karíma Al-Mukhtar largely ignores trends and current artistic strategies. She works with tradition perceived from the beginning, rediscovers and brings back original crafting techniques, and therefore it is possible to extract her non-literal intermediary artistic ability regularly and without any disdain from the word ‘be able.’

She focuses on ceramics as well as on embroidery, which are – by the way – proven therapeutic techniques. However, she treats those techniques with stubborn tenacity. Therefore, she burns clay in the old way on an open fire, and she uses a needle and a thread to decorate washed-up wood, a wall or a glass pane.

It is no coincidence that one part of her visual language is also the old Japanese art of Kintsugi, which originated in the 15th century and it concerns restoring ceramics. In short – broken items, which one desires to preserve, are not repaired in a way so that their defects are as little visible as possible. On the contrary, cracks are highlighted by a special putty mixture, which contains some precious material, most commonly powdered gold. The indisposition then becomes significant merit. And that can be mirrored in life. The layered project of Karíma Al-Mukhtar is, therefore, mainly about common things not usually being what they appear to be at first glance.’ – Radek Wohlmuth.

Karmína Al-Mukhtar graduated from not one but three art schools (FUD Ústí nad Labem, UMPRUM, AVU) and completed several internships abroad; she is a multimedia artist that works with combining various approaches and techniques. The leitmotif of her works is identity and tradition. It is not only content that is important for her but also craftsmanship – one of the repetitive principles in her work is a challenging work with embroidery – the creation of a whole collection of works may take up to one year. As the artist, herself says: ‘If in art, as in any other area of human activity, there is growing pressure on the speed of production, ideally all should be made immediately, then I go in the opposite direction.’