14 November 2022–5 January 2023

Mouteea Murad

The Common Pursuit of Happiness

Ayyam Gallery

“If there is an abiding theme in ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ it is the idea that you come into the world already shaped by other people’s past histories.” - Douglas Kennedy.

Starts 14 November 2022

Ends 5 January 2023

Venue Ayyam Gallery

Warehouse 11

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About the exhibition

The soul is a timeless and boundless gift God has accorded us and us only. A gift that needs to be cherished, studied, and delved into. Past souls’ work and thoughts remain, and our predecessors’ glories fill our hearts. Thus making the task of distinguishing one’s self exhausting. Unfortunately, society’s views and values often lead us towards misconception and aesthetic abuse.

Nonetheless, the act of creation leads to a deeper understanding of our psyche. Diving into our complex minds, the most abstract matter, we enter a quest towards reality, our version of the truth. For whoever knows oneself will know God. The time spent discovering and creating ultimately becomes one of healing and worshiping.

The artist invites the viewer to experience this relief by participating.

Artist statement

This body of work in its entirety is a conceptual artwork, a journey. The scenography tells my story. Along with my faith, my precise and mathematical creations have played a detrimental role in revitalizing my spirit. Both become integral coping mechanisms in light of my past struggles. Furthermore, these therapeutic tools have led to a positive social change in my quotidian.

My interest in the essence of Art and the questions it raises allow me to plan my life methodically and make professional and personal decisions alike. Through creation, I mitigate all inner sadness, anger, and congestion. I hope this process helps the viewer understand that the creative process is as important as the final product, if not more important, in my work.

The technical aspect of my work is broken down into parts, the execution and the creation. Each piece is interactive and a crucial chapter of the story between the wider audience and myself. A start that leads toward bringing the artwork to life.

The execution process is divided into two main tasks. The first part is mine, and it is the task of setting up the second, yours. Each artwork in this space is accompanied by ‘instructions’ that are straightforward but vague. It is then up to you to complete the painting, creating an experiential exchange. A dialogue between myself, the work, and the audience.

The result will awaken the viewer’s creative state and unleash an unknown side. A new form of energy will flow through my co-authors. This dialogue will help me understand my purpose by enhancing others’ perceptions and acceptance of my work. This experience will help us further understand each other and open ourselves to misinterpret or comprehend one another. Creating space for human tolerance is the goal. This interaction will hopefully change the viewer’s perception of my completed work.

About the artist

Mouteea Murad’s work sees a unification of spirituality and formalism, continuously drawing influence from the geometric forms and motifs of Islamic art. Murad began his career as a painter working on monochromatic, expressionist compositions that depict the anguish of modern man. In 2007, his work took on a renewed outlook that redirected his painting style, exploring relativity, spatiality, and the visual dynamic of geometric forms.

Murad’s work differs greatly from those of his contemporaries; his works present in pure abstraction and harmonious color. When the artist first approached Shabab Ayyam competition with his work in 2007, he presented figurative works. However, in the seven months between registration and submission, Murad had created works that evolved that reflected through the gradual stages of pure abstraction.

In his compositions, the artist builds on the breakthroughs of previous movements, experimenting with automatic brushwork, the illusionistic perspective of Op art, the symmetry of geometric abstraction, and the collapsing planes of Suprematism. Highly influenced by artists such as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky,

In his most recent series, his relationship with mathematics plays an integral role, with the Fibonacci numbers and sequence at its centre. His forms and lines are largely defined by algebraic functions and their geometric application within the work. Murad continues to draw inspiration from Islamic art while employing forms and lines largely defined by algebraic functions, allowing for his work to see a unification of spirituality and formalism.

Murad lives and works in Sharjah, UAE. He received a Bachelor of Art from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus in 2001. Selected solo exhibitions include Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2018, 2016); Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2018, 2011); Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2017, 2011); and Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2010). His work can be found in private and public collections internationally, including the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.

Banner Image Credit: Mouteea Murad 'Trial No. 157 — The way of love', 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 200 X 400 cm.