ATHIER | MAN OF WAR

Athier left Iraq before the first Gulf War in 1990 and has divided his life since then between London and Paris. His works reflect this personal history, incorporating Mesopotamian and Assyrian symbolism, figurative abstraction and Islamic geometry. Elsewhere there are echoes of a pre-revolutionary Iraq, testament to the powerful and enduring sense of exile and nostalgia visible in much of Athier’s work.

The central symbol throughout this new series of works is the Portuguese Man of War, a highly sophisticated ‘colonial’ organism, often mistaken for a jellyfish, which is made up of many separate parts incapable of independent survival. The creature survives with no central brain nor capacity for what we might call ‘thought’. Yet it has perfected the ability to hunt, kill and destroy. Like a jellyfish, its movement appears intuitive: its abiotic form collapses inwards and pushes outwards, creating the rhythmic expansion and release that propels it through the water. In Athier’s paintings, this fluid movement is broken up and distorted by a rigid structure that traps a diversity of life within its trailing tentacles. This marine life-form is a figurative representation of Athier’s experience of watching warfare in the Middle East from his position of exile in the West. His dense compositions, replete with human teeth, hands, eyes and pockets of blood cells, echo both the kinetic energy of an explosion and the organic form of the Man of War, always on the move, homing in on its target stealthily and with precision.

Synopsis

EOA.Projects is proud to present Man of War, the first UK solo exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints by London-based Iraqi-British artist, Athier.

Known for a style that draws on a range of influences, from European Modernism to contemporary Iraqi art, Athier has produced a striking new body of work that explores the circumstances in which humans have become detached from man-made destruction, themes with profound resonance given recent Iraqi history.

Athier left Iraq before the first Gulf War in 1990 and has divided his life since then between London and Paris. His works reflect this personal history, incorporating Mesopotamian and Assyrian symbolism, figurative abstraction and Islamic geometry. Elsewhere there are echoes of a pre-revolutionary Iraq, testament to the powerful and enduring sense of exile and nostalgia visible in much of Athier’s work.

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