Manal Al-Dowayan (Saudi Arabian, b. 1973)
Manal Al-Dowayan (Saudi Arabian, b. 1973)

I Live And Die For The Moment (from the series And We Had No Shared Dreams)

Details
Manal Al-Dowayan (Saudi Arabian, b. 1973)
I Live And Die For The Moment (from the series And We Had No Shared Dreams)
signed and titled in Arabic, signed, titled and numbered 'Manal Al-Dowayan I Live And Die For The Moment 1/2' (on the reverse)
archival giclée print mounted on dibond with aluminium wiring and LED back lights
55 1/8 x 36 5/8in. (140 x 93cm.)
Executed in 2010, this work is number one from an edition of two plus one artist's proof

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Bibi Naz Zavieh
Bibi Naz Zavieh

Lot Essay

Cities have sounds. The sound is ever-present, an expanding and contracting energy resonating within a single space. The city inhales, with difficulty, tension building, until it exhales - an intense release. With every breath the city takes, people gravitate towards it with a longing for the happiness that it promises. Little do they know, however, that when a city breathes, suffocation is bound to follow.

The city acts as a theatrical backdrop; it sets the scene and mood of the act to come. The city gives you the details, but not the story. We are mere props that complete the urban landscape. As the city grows its inhabitants slowly lose themselves, their identity, and eventually blend into this backdrop. Millions of people exist in anomie, surrounded by communities that they do not identify with. Every day, they live between concrete walls and are transported en masse to other concrete locations. They live suspended between states of consciousness and unconsciousness; existence plagued by isolation within congestion. This context has spurred underground cultures that negate its imposed harmony, cultures with an anarchic spirit that refuse to be tied down by a framework or a definition. They bubble under the surface, exploring creative destruction and escapism. They try to dilute their solitude by reconnecting to their long lost love of the city. They seek emotional salvation at any cost.

This series of works depicts an imagined conversation between urban inhabitants and their cityscape. It is an unstable, symbiotic relationship in a constant state of uncertainty. It is a romance on the verge of collapse.
The artworks comprise delicate black and white prints representing the city, an elegant stage for the dialogue set forth. The conversation between the city and its inhabitants is represented with words and images that are superimposed with lights, buff-proof spray paint and ink. The rough and flashy medium of the foreground only further amplifies the people's constant need for attention and reconciliation. The inhabitant asks, "Are you mine forever? Do you share my dreams? Do you long for me?" In response the city exhales.

(Manal Al-Dowayan)
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