The Art Statements section of Art Basel focuses on promoting the most promising emerging artists in the world, offering a unique platform through which they can exhibit their works to an international audience.
Shadi Habib Allah’s proposal for Art Statements, “S/N: 8F1GNA0021” is an interplay between the sculptural element and its transformation from the black-market. The accompanying video documents the process of the artist 'commissioning' a camera to be stolen in the clandestine marketplace and the labor of fashioning a new 'legal' identity on the object.
The work represents illicit economies that exist within established forms of circulation and deal with - illegal bodies - be they stolen goods or undocumented immigrants. This shadow system of exchange operates under the radar of authority but has an effect on the economy as a whole, and also performs an essential service of making 'legitimate' objects and people. The assigned form to these bodies constructs a new meaning, and gives them the ability to move legally. A transfiguration that resonates with artistic practice itself.
The process of acquiring the camera renders visible the mechanisms of the illicit economy – from ordering to delivery – taking place both in public and domestic spaces the sites of trafficking are revealed in their everydayness. In the final operation, the camera records the dismantling of its shell – similar to the erasure of traces on a stolen car – aiming to conceal its previous history, and undergoes a stripping off and modification of its body. The workers of the auto body shop, implicated in this action as agents of concealment, have their presence partially distorted as the dismantling process progresses and their words are subtly chopped. The transformation of the camera's identity thrusts the object into a state of transience – the past resides internally while the surface takes on a new visage in an attempt to forge a future.
Shadi Habib Allah was born in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1977, and received a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in 2003. His interdisciplinary practice, primarily involving sculpture and video, is informed by ideas on structural and material degeneration. He was twice awarded 2nd Prize for the Young Artist Award from the A.M. Qattan Foundation, and has attended residencies at Cittadelarte, Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy and Gasworks in London, England. He has participated in exhibitions at the Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah, Tate Modern, London, and Palestine c/o Venice at the Venice Biennale. He recently received an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University.
Green Art Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in Dubai, UAE. Central to the curatorial program are contemporary artists of all media from the Middle East, North Africa, South East Asia, and Turkey, who rely heavily on a research-based practice. Most recently the gallery has continued to grow with the additions of internationally renowned and emerging artists including Hale Tenger, Kamrooz Aram and Shadi Habib Allah to the artist roster.