Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem is unique and fresh on the art scene; no one has ever combined a career in the Saudi Arabian army with life as an artist. He specializes in performance and site specific installation.
"I have no studio so my studio is where I can find people. When I see the opportunity I go. That is my way of thinking about art."
He is perhaps best known for his recent installation piece as part of the Sharjah Biennial 2007, entitled Flora and Fauna. He wrapped himself and a Cornocarpus Erectus tree in a plastic sheet on the the main street of Abha. He remained inside all day, surviving on the oxygen produced by the tree. In so doing he was commenting on a range of issues from man's role in nature to the destruction of the ecosystem and of course, causing great public interest.
His work Concrete, from the series Restored Behaviour consists of an enormous rubber-stamp which features Arabic words concerned with the reformation of behaviour. Exploring notions of intervention and judgement, Gharem takes control with his own stamp, ready to approve or disapprove.
The present work comprises 87,151 rubber stamps of which 76,032 are Arabic letters; 7,920 Arabic numbers, 3,170 are numerical functions and symbols, and 29 are English letters. A comparable piece was exhibited in Edge of Arabia at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, October 2008.