• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7804

    International Modern & Contemporary Art

    27 October 2009, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 110

    Halim Al-Karim (Iraqi, b. 1963)

    King's Harem

    Price Realised  


    Halim Al-Karim (Iraqi, b. 1963)
    King's Harem
    signed, titled, numbered and dated 'Halim Al Karim King's Harem, 2008 2/3' (on the reverse)
    Lambda print
    88½ x 39in. (225 x 100cm.)
    Executed in 2008, this work is this work is number two from an edition of three plus two artist proofs

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    "I search through the layers of collective memory and my personal experience in that context. In this process the main challenge for me is to identify and stay clear of the historical and contemporary elements of brainwash" (Halim Al-Karim, cited in Hossein Amirsadeghi (ed), New Vision, London, 2009, p. 182).

    Halim Al-Karim trained as a ceramicist in Baghdad, working first as a ceramicist and a sculptor before turning his attention to photography. His huge out-of-focus images of figures, figurines, faces and masks blur the distinctions between the real and the unreal and between living things and objects. The absence of clarity reflects displacement, and what for Halim are unresolved issues, which relate especially to his time spent during the Iraqi army in the first Gulf War, when for three years he was hiding in the desert. Many of Al-Karim's works recall Orientalist prototypes, and the artist compares "politicians busy with their fancy life and ignoring their society issues" to the destructive tendencies of Orientalist fantasy (Halim Al-Karim, op cit, p.183).

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    Private Collection, Switzerland


    Hossein Amirsadeghi (ed.), New Vision, London, 2009, cover and p.183 (illustrated in colour)