Qasim Riza Shaheen and Sophia Al-Maria

Qasim Riza Shaheen and Sophia Al-Maria


Images, in order of appearance: Qasim Riza Shaheen, Between Refrains, 2014. Film still. Qasim Riza Shaheen, Backward Glances I, 2014. Film still. Sophia Al-Maria, The Watchers, 1–5, 2014. Film still. Sophia Al-Maria, Evil Eye, 2014. Film still.

July 23, 2014

6 September–2 November 2014

70 Oxford Street
Manchester M1 5NH

Cornerhouse presents two major exhibitions of new work from Qasim Riza Shaheen and Sophia Al-Maria. Shaheen’s Autoportraits in love-like conditions researches the fragile architecture of the space between people, while Al-Maria’s Virgin with a Memory takes its cue from her unfinished feature film, rape-revenge thriller Beretta.

Featuring work developed over a 12-month period spent in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, Autoportraits in love-like conditions focuses on silent tales of love and the connections between people, exploring fleeting moments of intimacy and tenderness with loved ones and strangers. In a unique collaboration with mac birmingham, the exhibition is presented in two halves, with Autoportraits in love-like conditions at Cornerhouse and The last known pose at mac birmingham. 

New installation Between Refrains (2014) is based on an intergenerational dialogue between the artist and his father. It follows Shaheen’s invitation to dance with him to a 1950s recording of ‘Elizabethan Serenade’ by Ron Goodwin and his Concert Orchestra. 

Performance work One (2014), which was researched and developed with local residents and artists at the National Visual Arts Centre in Kuala Lumpur, will feature repetitive thoughts, statements and actions delivered over a beat that marks the beginning and end of a time cycle. 

Misplaced Memoirs (2014) is an intimate, site-specific performance that explores the construction of our romantic imagination. The piece will be performed at the Palace Hotel, Manchester, to three people at a time.

In Backward Glances (2014), Shaheen will showcase his belongings to reveal the processes behind these new works. Images of performers in simulated love-like conditions will replace the artist’s personal photographs, interrupting and re-inventing these archived histories. 

Sophia Al-Maria’s Virgin with a Memory is both homage to cult cinema and a call to arms. It jumps off from Beretta, Al-Maria’s unfinished feature film set in Cairo, Egypt, which follows Suad, a young mute woman who murders the men who harass her. 

Virgin with a Memory explores contemporary connotations of the male gaze in global popular culture, using the hurdles Al-Maria has faced in bringing Beretta to production as source material.

Five-channel video installation The Watchers No. 1–5 (2014) evokes the all-seeing male gaze, bringing five of the villains from Beretta’s script to life. Class A (2014)—one of four new pseudo-documentary works—is a video ode to a Beretta actress who was jailed before filming began. Slaughter (2013) is culled from the first film footage shot during the 2012 Eid al Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). Your Sister (2014) is an imitation music video made to play on a television on Beretta’s set. Finally, Evil Eye (2014) is a protective amulet made to ward off further trouble while the film is brought to completion. 

The novelised version of Beretta’s script, Virgin with a Memory: The Exhibition Tie-in (Cornerhouse Publications and The Third Line), will be released to coincide with the exhibition. This piece is predicated on Al-Maria’s idea that in today’s challenging creative environment, the only way to achieve an unadulterated director’s cut of a film is to write it as a novel, making it the writer’s sole property. An accompanying novella-cum-critical essay, Jeddah Childhood circa 1994 (Cornerhouse Publications) by Curator Omar Kholeif, will also be released. 

Virgin with a Memory is curated by Omar Kholeif. Kholeif is Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and Senior Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester. Autoportraits in love-like conditions is curated by Sarah Perks, Artistic Director at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester.  


Qasim Riza Shaheen and Sophia Al-Maria at Cornerhouse 2
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July 23, 2014

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