July 10, 2017 - Gasworks - Monira Al Qadiri: The Craft
July 10, 2017


Monira Al Qadiri, The Craft, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Monira Al Qadiri
The Craft
July 13–September 10, 2017

Opening: July 12, 6:30–8:30pm

155 Vauxhall Street
London SE11 5RH
United Kingdom

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Gasworks presents The Craft, the first UK solo exhibition by Monira Al Qadiri.

The exhibition comprises sculptures, videos and sound works that envisage international diplomacy as an alien conspiracy. Shown in two distinct environments—a mysterious, pitch black anteroom and an American diner—these semi-autobiographical works of science fiction unearth the unlikely stories lurking in the shadows of the artist’s childhood in Kuwait. Revisiting the fantasies that she and her sister elaborated during these early years, they depict the culture and rituals of diplomacy by which they were then surrounded as literally otherworldly to the current rise of nationalism and political populism.

Pouring petrol on the flames, the central work in the exhibition, the VHS video The Craft, asks: “Were my parents conspiring with aliens behind my back?” Reality crumbles, paranoia and speculation take hold. Pop culture, futuristic architecture, junk food, dream readings, alien abductions, geopolitics, diplomacy, war and peace: all of these once solid staples of modern life become tainted by a general sense of distrust, which overshadows everything. Like a ticking time bomb placed at the centre of the nuclear family unit, suspicion reaches a crescendo when the protagonist discovers that the "American Century" has finally ended.

Co-commissioned by Gasworks and the Sursock Museum, Beirut with support from Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture, July 1–16; Cockayne—Grants for the Arts and the London Community Foundation; and Gasworks' Exhibition Programme Supporter 2017-18, Catherine Petitgas.

Exhibition events

Thursday, July 13, 7pm
In this lecture performance, Monira Al Qadiri performs a eulogy for the death of the American popular imagination, using a single all-embracing motif: junk food. 

Residency events

Autumn Open Studios
Open studios: Saturday, September 9, 12–6pm
Artists’ talks: Saturday, September 9, 4pm

Rachal Bradley (UK), hosted in the Outset Residency Studio
Ranjit Kandalgaonkar (India), hosted in the Sackler Residency Studio
Beto Shwafaty (Brazil), hosted in the Roberts Residency Studio
Portia Zvavahera (Zimbabwe), hosted in the Juan Yarur Torres Residency Studio

Gasworks’ current international artists in residence open their studios to the public throughout the day on Saturday, September 9. Open studios and artists’ talks offer London audiences a unique opportunity to see, hear about and discuss the research and work-in-progress that these artists have been developing during their residencies at Gasworks.

Gasworks' current residencies are supported by the Freelands Foundation; Charles Wallace India Trust and Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation; Gasworks’ Brazilian Residency Patrons Circle; and the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean (ICAIO)

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The Craft
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