23 March – 7 May, 2022
Private View: Wednesday, 23 March: 6-8PM
Modern Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Mohammed Sami. This is Sami’s first solo exhibition with Modern Art.
Mostly large-format and acrylic on linen, Mohammed Sami’s paintings depict glimpses of empty, built environments and interior still-lives that – while at first appearing mundane — carry a weight of autobiographical references and affective meaning. With bold colours and flattened perspectives, attention is given as much to textures and details within the frame as it is to the composition as a whole, which is a means to get closer to the way memory works — triggered as it is, through the nuances of everyday minutiae. Some of Sami’s works depict views from outside: Long Night ii (2020), for instance, peers out onto a purple sky from within a fenced enclosure; the streetlamp evoking a municipal atmosphere and a thicket of bush clambering through the metal railings.
Similarly, a night-time view from Refugee Camp ii (2020) looks onto the outside of an austere building whose cool exteriors frame small, lamp-lit windows, perhaps evoking a sense of warmth or comfort within. But the interior scenes of Sami’s works offer little reprieve from a harsh external world, and a sense of desolation pervades throughout. Depictions of domesticity show signs of family life, but where the traditional still-life might evoke tranquillity, Sami’s atmospheres are far more worrisome. Quotidian objects stand in for much more frightening images: stacks of red rolled rugs evoke blood-soaked flesh, the shadow of a spider plant suggests a deadly creature. In this way, Sami’s work deftly manages to summon a sense of deep unease lurking below the surface without exposing it directly, making it seem almost as though it is a trick of the mind, or a hallucination.