world undeR pressure
ROSE ISSA PROJECTS
10 July- 8 August 2014
82 Great Portland Street
For her first solo show at Rose Issa Projects, the Moroccan artist Batoul S’Himi presents a selection of works from a sculpture series that she started in 2008, World Under Pressure (Monde sous pression). In this series, the artist transforms potentially hazardous household cooking appliances and utensils – such as stovetop coffee pots, Butagaz, pressure cookers, and meat cleavers – into unique artworks that convey a sense of anxiety about the world in a witty and visually striking way, as if it could be about to explode or hacked to pieces.
The sculptures resonate with meaning and layers of references. By carving maps of the world – and the Middle East in particular – from the surface of these domestic objects, S’Himi references the history of mapmaking, with its international rivalries and claims over territories. As the curator Karen Milbourne of the Smithsonian comments, S’Himi’s sculptures “take the most domestic and local of spaces – the kitchen or hearth – and situate it in a global setting” while hinting that “we are all part of a world in which the pressure from competing sources and insufficient resources is escalating”. The artworks question whether we can “keep a lid” on the mounting pressure of this situation, or whether our resources will trickle away, like water from a pot with holes.
The domestic objects also hint at the under-representation of women on the global stage while elevating domestic work – which nourishes and supports families everywhere – into an art worthy of respect and an appreciative audience. S’Himi’s outlook is ultimately hopeful, therefore: by bringing the world into the heart of the home, solutions can be found and shared.
S’Himi’s work recently featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s groundbreaking exhibition, Earth Matters, in Washington D.C. (2013-2014); the Palais de Tokyo’s Third Triennale of Contemporary Art, Intense proximité, in Paris (2012); and is in the forthcoming show on Morocco at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Her work is in the public collection of The National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution and the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah.