Nedim Kufi Mohsen

Iraq 1962. Lives and works in the Netherlands.

"Iraqi artist Nedim Kufi wants to propose rebellion. His mildly oppositional stance is one in which the physical act of painting does not function anymore. Kufi treats the frame of the painting as the main subject of his work, even if it is disguised by everything that is tied to and stretched from it. The stretching of the medium (rice or handmade paper) is also the content of the work as well as a way of displaying the mechanism behind the act itself. Further enhanced by relying on geometrical abstraction as the art historical referent (rather than, for example, abstract expressionism or any form of figuration), rendering metaphorical content more difficult to detect. Maybe this is Kufi’s way of telling us to focus on the frame and the painting will follow.

Attempting to rebel against the logic of painting in this manner, treating the frame as well as what stands for the canvas as material objects and sidestepping the paintbrush, transposes the work into a conflicted space where two sets of opposing logics operate at the same time. On the one hand, the coordinates of the work are those of the framed painting (a square wooden frame with material stretched across it, which is marked or treated in some form or another) and the non-functional object (a form that takes its very occupation of space as its main subject matter). This is of course not uncharted territory, yet it is perhaps the very unresolved quality, the hesitation between abandoning one thing and taking up another position, that makes these works stand out. There is a hint, a suggestion that neither choice is sufficient to create a rupture with a painterly tradition. It is, maybe, such a suggestion that lends the work an elegiac quality."

- Excerpt from 'The case against continuity, or is it possible to be enchanted?' by Hassan Khan
Arab Art Histories - The Khalid Shoman Collection, published by The Khalid Shoman Foundation, 2013