NIKA Project Space is thrilled to announce its third exhibition, featuring the synergy of two female artists, Fatma Al Ali from the UAE and Nika Neelova from the UK.
Both artists delve into the interplay between art, materials, and the spatial environment, redefining our understanding of space and its transformation through the introduction of architectural elements.
Nika Neelova's creations stand as a testament to her mastery of architectural manipulation. Drawing inspiration from reclaimed architectural materials, the London-based artist employs the concept of "reverse archaeology," resurrecting fragments of history to craft thought-provoking sculptures and installations, which often take the form of fragments or non-functional replicas of familiar objects.
The exhibition will feature a selection of pieces from Neelova's most renowned sculpture series, Lemniscate, which she creates using old wooden handrails found in London mansions slated for demolition or restoration. Works from Neelova's Lateral Cuts series will also be presented;
these objects replicate cross-sectional cuts of architectural structures. Created from concrete, ceramics, and acrylic, they simultaneously resemble translated 3D architectural blueprints, which, to some extent, also bring the viewer back to the notion of home.
Neelova’s art pieces transcend mere objects; they serve as conduits to alternative interpretations of human history, inviting viewers to engage with the stories embedded within inanimate remnants.
The artist describes her approach as follows: "Bypassing straightforward means of fabrication, my work is concerned with finding modes of retrieving and revealing information that is already there, and the multiplicities of histories concealed within it, as a way of finding and imagining evidence of human pasts through inanimate things. In my works, the human body and touch remain as vestigial memories. My sculptures are often focused on the conversions involved in translating existing objects into other mediums, decoding and recoding their purposes, enacting the processes that were used to shape them, altering their internal structures, and liberating objects from their meaning."
Fatma Al Ali's vision unfurls through an exploration of the concept of home. Her latest body of work encapsulates the essence of belonging, memory, and the emotional resonance of space. Al Ali's craftsmanship elevates foldable paper houses into resilient structures, encapsulating the intersection of fragility and strength.Through her careful reshaping of these forms, she uncovers intriguing voids that delineate the borders between the inner and outer dimensions.
Familiar forms of houses, which seem to have leaped from the pages of children's drawings, undergo a remarkable transformation as they are meticulously crafted in plastic, with the artist experimenting with materials and boundaries. Furthermore, Al Ali integrates hand-drawn houses from childhood images into the map of Sharjah Emirate that she has meticulously crafted.
Al Ali blurs the boundary between the real and the imagined, of that which only exists in memories. These simplified house models echo the objects from Neelova's Lateral Cuts series, resembling cross-sectional slices of houses.
“As I contemplate the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces, I find myself drawn to a foldable paper house template, often presented as a playful activity to children”, says Al Ali. “These seemingly two-dimensional objects offer a gateway to three dimensional realms, yet they remain fragile and transient, mere reflections of their potential. My curiosity leads me to wonder: What if these houses were crafted from sturdier materials? What if they existed in abundance, enabling me to explore unique shapes and forms?”
The convergence of Neelova and Al Ali's distinct artistic trajectories and practices offers a poetic definition of time, history, and architectural elements.