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Ashwan - Sample Culture, Sept 2019

Sample Culture

Lifting/borrowing/homage/theft/referencing/reproduction! Whatever term is preferred often depends upon your perspective, but these are all common claims or accusations in todays artistic culture. This "sampling" may appear more prevalent today, however it is far from a new phenomenon. Memetic referencing, credited or uncredited, is a fundamental part of the creative process.

"Sample Culture" was an exhibition that played on this phenomena.

Ashwan has always used music as a source of inspiration and this was evident throughout this show. In this exhibition, his second at BienCuadrado, a mix of new pieces were shown from large relief cut-outs, akin to those he has installed across Barcelona over the last number of years, alongside smaller abstract resin works.

In Ashwan’s large cut-out pieces, lyrics and phrases from songs were taken and spatially re-contextualised, creating a new mental rhythm as the song is recalled. An acoustic rat-a-tat-tat that is visually mimicked as the familiar phrase is placed in an unfamiliar context. Moreover, the playful interaction of positive and negative spaces in the pieces created a dance for the eye.

The boldness of the textual cut-outs made clear reference to the graffiti that covers our city´s walls and doors, while the patterns of light and colour transmitted a feeling of warmth and love for the act of tagging itself. Ashwan played with light, colour, and reflection creating ephemeral tricks on the eye that made it difficult to get a sense of what was actually seen. The front space of the gallery was dominated by a Ferris wheel of a piece entitled ´Not a Test´ which, at times was as vibrant as an Okuda San Miguel work yet simultaneously as monochrome as Malevich´s white on white. The smaller abstract works brought to mind sections of a fallen Berlin wall or old New York tenement building, encased in resin as if fossils of our recent past.

Below are some pictures from a visit organised in conjunction with Young Gallery Weekend.

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