Syed Shoaib Mahmood – A Short Trip from Disneyland to the Sublime

Solo Exhibition

13.02.2019 2pm  - 23.02.2019 7pm

In his solo exhibition “A short trip from Disneyland to the Sublime,” visual artist Syed Shoaib Mahmood explores sculpture’s “real space” between the mental and material.

A bold consideration of the modern sublime, exploring the art of surface, materiality and reflection, Syed Shoaib Mahmood’s latest exhibition is a poetic and philosophical examination of temporality and immediacy through sculptural works.

The shift in Mahmood’s work from the descriptive to the ungraspable is traced, documenting the artist’s preoccupation with surface, reflectivity, illusion and notions of transcendence and the sublime. His sculptures are in a constant state of flux, between illusionary space, physical allure and mystical and metaphysical reference, on a razor’s edge “between Disneyland and the Sublime.”

Delineating from previous work relying heavily on text and written word, Mahmood’s latest work incorporates materials such as wood, stainless steel and plexiglass. The artist notes however that the material itself remains “less relevant in relation to what (it is) actually made to do.” A process is provoked by accepting the irrelevance of identifying recognisable elements, freeing the viewer to experience the immediacy of an object as it is.

Mahmood’s exhibition considers the politics of the act of seeing, through voluntary and involuntary thinking, the material and non-material. Presenting works ideated over the course of a year and the influence of immersion in Berlin’s art scene, Mahmood’s latest works embrace a new-found sense of humor in their creation, and an inclination to welcome the critical gaze of skeptical Berlin audiences.

References to Anish Kapoor can be seen in Mahmood’s use of reflectivity, specifically applying this technique for the purpose of revealing “where an object functions, not just where it resides.” Looking more to contemporaries, parallels in the depth of conceptual and literal messaging as employed by British artist Robert Montgomery can be seen through the use of wood-based word pieces. Where Montgomery’s work is political, Mahmood explores spiritual dimensions in his pieces, involving narratives of transformation and becoming, as well as interpersonal themes.

Quoting author Karl Ove Knausgård, Mahmood notes that ‘’Meaning requires content, content requires time, time requires resistance…I’d hope that one can provide just about enough resistance for the viewer to feel a little more whole…or empty.”

The work on display in the exhibition was developed over the course of a one-year artist residency in 2018 at SomoS Art House, Neukolln, Berlin.


About Syed Shoaib Mahmood

Syed Shoaib Mahmood (India) is a mixed-media artist currently based in Berlin. Having previously exhibited as a solo artist at The Kings & Queens Gallery, Mumbai, Mahmood’s dynamic practice builds on his experience as a student of sculpture at J.J School of Arts, Mumbai. Working primarily with sculpture and text, Mahmood’s work explores language, beauty, perception, and the spatial relationships of people and objects, examining meanings “beyond the surface and artifice.” The focus is tension and relation, between moment and object. Mixed-media and installation techniques employ reflection, metaphor, and relational distance to position the viewer, asking them to see and accept the temporality of moments.


Opening Reception: Tuesday 12 February, 2019, 6pm – 9pm.
Open February 13 – 23, Tue-Sa, 2-7pm.
Entry is free.
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