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Halim Al-Karim (Iraqi, b. 1963)

King's Harem

Details
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
Provenance
Private Collection, Switzerland
Literature
Hossein Amirsadeghi (ed.), New Vision, London, 2009, cover and p.183 (illustrated in colour)
Special notice

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Lot Essay

"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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