Hassan Sharif is a pioneering Arab artist who works with concepts and processes of material experimentation. His artworks reference mass production, resulting in organic and unruly forms and assemblages. Since Sharif returned to the United Arab Emirates after his studies in London and organized the first outdoor exhibition at Sharjah’s Central Market in 1984, both he and his work have been strongly criticized for presenting what many local critics at the time considered to be imported and unfamiliar representations that disturbed the norm and balance of artistic practice in the region.
Sharif’s work is influenced by research on science and geometry and by poetic experimentations with material and space. He refers to himself as an “artist who makes,” using found materials and consumer goods in an attempt to interrogate the industrialization and consumerist overproduction that derive from the oil industry’s development in the region in the 1970s. In Paper and Glue, he reuses cheap materials that are often neglected or discarded, highlighting their involvement in changing art instead of their materials qualities. Slippers and Wire is made with simple rubber slippers like those that can be found in many homes. Sharif tied these slippers together with wires in a rhythmic and repetitive manner before placing them in a pile. Inviting error and chance through repetitive gestures, Sharif thus embraces both aspects as part of his working process and material experiments with multiple possibilities.