Qatar Museums (QM) has announced the installation throughout Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Park of a new 10-piece sculptural work by Liam Gillick, Folded Extracted Personified.
Now accessible for public viewing—and interaction—Gillick’s work is the latest installation in QM’s Public Art Programme, which brings engaging, large-scale artworks into dialogue with people in the civic landscape of Doha.
Folded Extracted Personified comprises a series of 10 irregularly shaped panel sculptures—each a flat surface folded into a zigzag—which bear images abstracted from works in the MIA and the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ).
These sources from the extensive museum collections range from C12th Iraqi illustrations to Turkish armor circa 1475-1525 to Iranian portraiture of the early C19th period and examples of pearl jewellery.
The MIA as seen through a hole cut into a sculpture. The holes enable people to peer through, after the fashion of “head-in-the-hole” attractions at carnivals and fairs.
There are two images on each sculpture. Circular holes, cut into the surface enable people to peer through, after the fashion of “head-in-the-hole” attractions at carnivals and fairs.
Distributed at carefully chosen sites throughout MIA Park, the sculptures serve as invitations to the public to interact with one another, performing for observers and being photographed.
The multi-part installation also invites playful interaction with the deep collections of QM by the many thousands of MIA Park users and was commissioned on occasion of the opening of the Jean Nouvel-designed NMoQ.
Other major works in the Public Art Programme that are now on view include “Desert Horse” by Qatari artist Ali Hassan, “Shift to Light” by Qatari artist Yousef Ahmad, Richard Serra’s East/West, West/East and 7, Louise Bourgeois’s Maman, Damien Hirst’s The Miraculous Journey, Urs Fischer’s Lamp Bear, Tony Smith’s Smoke, Dia Azzawi’s Flying Man, and Sarah Lucas’s Perceval.
Temporary installations by Qatari ARToonist Ghada Al Khater are also on view through the programme, as is Martin Creed’s Everything is Going to be Alright, which was commissioned to commemorate the anniversary of the blockade imposed on Qatar by neighbouring countries.
Built adjacent to the MIA, the MIA Park is a landscaped expanse where the public can stroll, participate in recreational activities, or view the Doha skyline from the best vantage point in the city. Taking advantage of the intergenerational nature of MIA Park, Gillick’s sculptures are installed in the vicinity of the MIA playground, which offers areas suitable for people of different ages.
Abdulrahman al-Ishaq, head of Public Art at QM, said, “Through displaying various forms of art in public space, we aim to inspire local talent and establish an organic connection between art and the local community. We hope these works speak to people who may envision themselves as cultural producers, creative practitioners, and museum professionals in years to come.”
Gillick said, “Public art adds a new conversation about our context - both cultural and personal. This work is intended to celebrate the spirit of a diverse cultural landscape and provide an opportunity for spectators from all different backgrounds to playfully intersect. It is a tribute to the immense historical traditions of art and craft in the region."
QM works with many local and international artists to acquire and commission public artworks that connect residents and visitors to Qatar in myriad ways. Qatar Museums has brought works to public spaces including the Hamad International Airport, Qatar National Convention Centre, Salwa Road tunnels, and Zekreet village.
Gillick, 55, is an artist whose diverse practice encompasses sculpture, installation, public projects and texts. Born and educated in England, he is now based in New York City.
Gillick is noted for his inclusion in the seminal 1996 exhibition Traffic at CAPC Bordeaux and his 2002 nomination for the Turner Prize. He has participated in hundreds of solo and group exhibitions around the world, including recent shows in New York City, Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Naples, Zurich, and London.
His many public commissions include the Home Office in London (2005) the Dynamica Building in Guadalajara, Mexico (2009) and Olympic Tower, New York (2018). In 2006 he was a central figure in the free art school project, the United Nations Plaza in Berlin, which travelled to Mexico City and New York.