Rodeo is very happy to present the first solo show in the gallery of Iman Issa (b.1979, Cairo), titled Material.
Material consists of a series of six small installations in different forms, each presented as a potential alternative structure to an existing monument or memorial. The particular monuments the artist is looking at are all ones that are personally significant to her and are these monuments and memorials that commemorate figures, events, and places she grew up with or have played an important part in shaping her very conception of a personal history.
The project proceeds from an interest in the commemorative language used by monuments and memorials in general, “a language which I thought was quite limited before but now am starting to look more carefully at its capacity for recalling its subjects” Issa notes. The artist is particularly interested in the symbolic quality and abstracting tendencies that are typically associated with such structures.
The project also constitutes an attempt to find forms that better express the personal significance of the figures, events, and places represented. So in a way, it is a project both influenced by a renewed belief in the symbolic language of commemoration as well as a feeling that the existing monuments in this case have failed in capturing something specific or significant about their subjects and thus the need to present alternative forms.
The original monuments are not mentioned by name in the work, rather each installation is accompanied by a vinyl text on the wall that describes an aspect of these monuments in mostly general terms. Examples of the text include: Material for a sculpture commemorating a blind man who became a great writer, or Material for a sculpture proposed as an alternative to a monument that has become an embarrassment to its people, or Material for a sculpture commemorating the victory of what initially appeared to be an inferior army, …etc.