ramzi mallat,  «means to no end»

27.10 - 06.11.2022

«billow and behold», 2022, resin and glass, 26 x 7x 6 cm

«billow and behold», detail

«means to no end», 2022, mixed media, dimensions variable

«shock & awe», 2022, prints, 51 x 33 cm, variable edition of 50

«shock & awe», detail

«means to no end», exhibition view

«means to no end», exhibition view

«shock & awe», 2022, neon, 62 x 140 x 8 cm

Forbes Middle East 30 under 30 2022 Honoree Ramzi Mallat (b. 1996) is a London based, Lebanese artist that is currently completing the MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art.

Mallat’s work focuses on the exploration of cultural identity in relation to globalisation, collective amnesia and buried historical narratives. According to Mallat, heritage is fluid. His practice includes piecing together different understandings of culture, trying to interweave narratives that have for long been segregated as “other”.

“Means to No End” unravels opaque histories and translates them to indicators of personal, social and political identities. This machiavellian terminology is indicative of contemporary social and political issues which gravitate towards the inherent ambiguity held by the title of this show. It is in this tension where Mallat plays with sculptures, prints, and installations to ask the question: “How do you perceive something that is completely ephemeral?”

Mallat aims at framing a dissonance which is reflected throughout the various artworks of this exhibition, starting with the works titled “Shock & Awe”. The two distinctive takes on the popular Arabic saying (which translates to English as either “the magic of the east” or “the magic of evil”) solely depe on the one flickering/fading letter.

Continuing with “Billow and Behold”, this sculpture is an emblematic representation of the widespread belief in the evil eye’s folkloric power to repel the envious gaze of the other. The artist toys with distorting the iconic symbol to reveal it as not only a marker of inequality but also a redresser of corruption in small-scale social groups.

Lastly, the work that bears the name of this exhibition proposes a cyclical manifestation of this enigma. “Means to No End” questions the power sharing of hierarchical structures in relation to the seemingly infinite distribution of finite resources and the abuse of communitarian systems which relate to the bodily.

This exhibition thusly encapsulates the fluidity inherent in heritage and the juxtaposition of blurred histories when circumnavigating our contemporary climate. Mallat unravels mechanisms invented by a society's cultural vanguard in the course of a struggle to showcase a socially engaged practice which is collectively seen as a fragmentation of individual perspectives.

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