Naeem Mohaiemen at Frieze Art Fair
Frieze is one of the many art fairs that have proliferated in an era of hype in the art market. Perhaps in reaction to excess commerce, Frieze has, for the last two years, begun a new section called 'Frame' where experimental projects by newer, less commercial artists can find space. While press coverage was once again dominated by absurd prices for Damien Hirst's latest works, quieter projects were on view at Frame.
Among the artists at Frame was Naeem Mohaiemen, a Bnagladeshi artist whose global presence has been felt through some curious curatorial as well as artistic projects. At Frame, he occupied an in-between space within this context.
He works mainly in writing, photography and video, but also other related contexts. His recent installation and photography projects in Dhaka include, 'My Mobile Weighs a Ton' at Gallery Chitrak and 'Otondro Prohori, Guarding Who' at Shilpakala Academy (part of Drik's Chobi Mela). His essays include, 'Fear of a Muslim Planet: Islamic Roots of Hiphop" (Sound Unbound, MIT Press), 'These Guys Are Artists & Who Gives A Shit' (System Error, Siena), 'Beirut, Silver Porsche Illusion' (Men of the Global South, Zed Books), and 'Why Mahmud Can't Be a Pilot' (Nobody Passes, Seal Press). In addition, as a member of Drishtipat Writers' Collective, he edited the recently-published anthology 'Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism' (http://drishtipat.org/dpwriters/cht/).
For the London show, Naeem worked with both photography and resin moulds to create objects as centers of the space. Writing in Art in America (January 2010), Brian Boucher recently described Naeem's work as – 'The admission sets the tone for his wry photo-and-text works, which gently question the efficacy of activism– and of his own art vis-a-vis political change.'