Lexicon is a body of works consisting of multiple displays, each of which is presented as a study for a contemporary remake of an existing artwork. As remakes Issa’s artworks retain the title of the original drawings, paintings, sculptures, or photographs from which they are drawn while offering alternative forms to these works, forms which attempt to communicate what she imagines these titles might be referring to at this moment in time. Although the original artworks from which she proceeds span different media, historical periods and geographical regions, they all share what she coins as a removed relationship between the artist producing them and his/her subject matter. She describes them as artworks in which an artist attempted to capture the zeitgeist, spirit, habits, conditions, or characteristics of a particular culture, people, time, or place; artworks which might have also become the very markers of a such a culture, people, time or place.
Iman Issa was born in Cairo in 1979. She studied philosophy, political science and visual arts at the American University in Cairo and then completed an MFA at Columbia University in New York (2005-2007) where she still lives and works. Her work could be described as a constant negotiation with given structures, narratives and places; as an attempt to re-animate solid, existing forms; be they found in a city, a work of art, a book or in memory itself. Her recent works are proposals and studies that by no means attempt to destroy their original signifiers but offer new readings of them. The opposite of a vandal, through her practice, Issa opens up different possibilities for how one sees and perceives one’s heritage and surrounding scenery.
Issa’s work is currently on view at the 12th Sharjah Biennial The Past, The Present, The Possible, and has upcoming solo exhibitions at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, Glasgow Sculpture Studios and MACBA, Barcelona. This is her second exhibition with Rodeo. Issa teaches at the Cooper Union School of Art.