Showcasing principal works by Siah Armajani and Rasheed Araeen, Rossi & Rossi’s Galleries Sector presentation at Art Basel in Hong Kong also features new art by Billy Apple, Heman Chong, Erbossyn Meldibekov and Nicole Wong.
The diverse selection of works by pre-eminent Iranian-born American artist Siah Armajani(b. 1939) includes the large-scale calligraphic drawing 100 and One Dead Poets(2016) and a seminal sculpture from his celebrated seriesDictionary for Building: Fireplace Mantel with Window (1982–83). Also on view is one of Armajani’s earliest works, Paria #1(1957), a proto-collage that combines drawings with an inscribed verse by influential Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou (1925–2000).
Meanwhile, London-based Rasheed Araeen(b. 1935) presents Male Ego (2007), a critical work created during the height of the Iraq War (2003–11) and the rise and collapse of the global financial markets. Incorporating an enlarged reproduction of a cubist drawing the artist made in 1960, which foreshadows his early career in minimalism, the work is installed beneath a row of framed texts that read: ‘Infantile Male Ego is the root of all Property / Domination / Exploitation / Oppression / Violence / Evil’. Analogous to the Pakistan-born artist’s multi-panel cruciform installations from the 1980s onwards, Male Egosimultaneously demonstrates Araeen’s observations and confrontations of hegemonic power structures throughout his career – from the geopolitical to the racial to the androcentric – and echoes sentiments of today’s ‘me too’ movement.
Amongst the new works on display is the most recent commission from Billy Apple’s From the Collectionseries (1987–ongoing), in which the New Zealand artist (b. 1935) collaborates with private, corporate and institutional collectors to produce individualised works in various formats and mediums. These always feature the words, ‘From the collection’, as well as the name of the collector, thus becoming inextricably linked with their owners. Although Apple controls the overall graphic style of the series, a given owner can personalise a particular work by suggesting its colour and scale.
In addition, Singapore-based artist Heman Chong(b. 1977) reveals his most recent series, Foreign Affairs(2019). The work speaks to today’s sites of infrastructural power by implicitly pointing to society’s fear of ‘back-door’ agreements involving actors who invisibly and insidiously pull the strings behind the veil of the everyday. Foreign Affairsis on view alongside another new image from the artist’s acclaimed Abstracts from the Straits Times(2018). Both series reflect the front and back stage upon which our fears of international conflict, calamity and national disaster play out and/or are produced.
Rossi & Rossi is also exhibiting a new installation by renowned Kazakh artist Erbossyn Meldibekov (b. 1964) – in anticipation of his upcoming solo exhibition at Rossi & Rossi Hong Kong, opening in May 2019 – and an introspective new work by Hong Kong artist Nicole Wong (b. 1990), who is being represented for the first time at Art Basel this year.