Mohamed Almusibli talks about the exhibition he curated exploring the pieces of eight artists’ between clothing processing, sculptures, paintings and images
Mohamed Almusibli – September Issues, the provocation behind
Reading the title of the exhibition that runs in Milan from June 30th to August 4th, one cannot help but to think of the iconic issue of Vogue that comes out every September. The show, however, starts from this concept of a glossy world that plays everything on image and individuals becoming a brand of themselves to turn elsewhere.
Issues are, in fact, also the problems related to the single person and the world as a whole that the new generation of artists must address and represent. This is what Mohamed Almusibli has been inspired by in his first curatorial work in Milan, September Issues.
«The title is meant to be a provocation and a challenge, starting from the magazine and the representation of the body in this context and in real life. Then I realized by dealing with young artists that posture, attitude and way of being or having something to express went beyond these images», he explains.
Therefore taking shape, the exhibition changed by reflecting, more than the static nature of the initial image, a movement capable of encompassing the work of several emerging artists.
The birth of the exhibition September Issue
Making what is canonical and establishing its own way of expression and modifying it in a challenge with the outside world, this is what the artists’ selected works highlight. For the past three years Mohamed Almusibli has been doing his curatorial work focusing on the study of emerging practices and authors.
The exhibition itself is created through a personal study of the curator who has involved artists already close to his work or new personalities to be discovered and enhanced. «I had very different ideas about September Issues. I first thought of expressing the meaning of the exposition through classic paintings, but then the conviction was to look forward and work with young artists», the curator clarifies.
The selection implemented was based on the concept of attitude in particular and the presentation of the latter, and some of the pieces on display were created on purpose for September Issues.
Normativity vs rebellion, the new generation of artists
What Almusibli sought was the ability of these artists to create a series of works that correspond to the current landscape in which they live. In constant oscillation between aspiration to a certain normativity and rebellion in the name of a better future, this is how the curator defines the works chosen for this exhibition.
Another goal, almost like a quest of its own, that Almusibli talks about, is to understand how these artists relate to media and in a world where traditional forms of those are collapsing. «I think already my generation is used to looking at other kinds of media, different from the traditional ones, and in English there is this saying ‘That person has more problems than Vogue’, and so it all came together to create the exhibition by going beyond the concept of posture», the curator says.
Looking at the exhibition it is possible to realize how the works seek on the one hand to be inspired by something canonical and on the other hand to be disruptive to the latter. Each artist, in fact, tries to make a concept his or her own by repurposing it according to the art form used and his or her own idea. For example, Almusibli says, Victoria Colmegna’s work uses famous pieces such as Picabia’s by reworking them on her garments in an encounter between shared past and current youth issues.
But also Jeremy’s canvas are representative, he uses a traditional method of expression such as painting in the classical form of studies and posture and then presents a new conception of the body, a non-binary and ageing one.
The search for identity and the confrontation with external society
Each artist reflects, through their art, global issues by making them subjective and personal within September Issues. For example, the curator cites the work of Adam Bilardi, who often portrays male figures similar to himself that represent the jealousy we all have inside.
The intimate feeling shown through a constricting image becomes a spokesperson for a common global feeling. The same thing represents the work of Troy Montes-Michie, Almusibli explains, who through the reworking of pieces of fabric wants to affirm how identity expressed through the body can assert itself with determination by opposing the rules of heteronormativity.
The continuous and obsessive search for identity in a confrontation with the outside world is another of the themes that bind the pieces on display. On this aspect, the curator speaks on a personal level explaining how in his opinion everyone needs to mirror himself or herself on the outside and how society is mirrored in each individual.
A clear example is the work of Francesco De Bernardi who gives his definition of an attitude defined as La Sprezzatura. The three sculptures, Almusibli explains, represent an Italian singer, a character from a book by John Dalton but is also a self-portrait, and a friend of his who personifies the modern dandy.
Just as this depicts society as seen by De Bernardi, Shuang Li in his performance includes a series of similar characters representing group dynamics capable of influencing subjectivity.
The definition of the generation concept
The thread of the exhibition reaches its conclusion in the term generation. Its meaning here lies in the possibility of creating a new and different language related to the conception of identity in a close way. From this will differ, by social context in which they develop an attitude of the artist, the works of art of subsequent creation that will perform a mutation of that expression.
Mohamed Almusibli, expressing himself on the meaning of this concept says: «For me it is something that creates a group or a community unifying people with similar attitudes or thoughts. Just like the definition of movement in general».
What he admired most, he continues, is seeing people and artists jumping from one generation to another, as if they were traveling. That’s why the meaning of generation goes beyond the representation of an age group, the curator explains, but depicts a whole that feels like one because of similarities in beliefs, thoughts, way of being.
Independent curator based in Geneva who focuses his work on analyzing emerging practices. After supervising several exhibitions, including the latest at Centre d’Art de Genève, he lands in Italy with September Issues in the Peres Projects framework.