Adham Faramawy @ the Bluecoat


Emoji summary: 🌾📺🌪

exhibition details { here }

hello i do not think the Adham Faramawy exhibition at the Bluecoat is an exhibition and that’s disappointing. there is one installation in the room upstairs: tv screens angled over mounds of sand and concrete plinths before a decal on the wall. there is a lot of negative space in the room, but it is not tangible - rather, it feels like time ran out, or money did, curatorial energy ?

if it is a problem of scale, close the frame. If small episodic presentations of art like this were a normal thing artists and curators did together, it would be okay. I would know I was going for an art snack and not a meal and my stomach would not be confused like this. if you had said to me, o there is an installation in the bluecoat that is in fact an advert for Faramawy’s wider practice: i would have said okay i love adverts I like the car ones let’s go.

given thatttttt, I like the portion we do get to see (after have put some blinders on)


The concrete plinths are stark, dystopic / screens atop sand is fashionable don't u know. The arrangement is arched in the corner, quiet, defunct; its tension and energy vaporised. It is resigned to itself, collapsed and okay like it says it is on the tin

feel like it should be raining outside the Bluecoat, like the invigilators should hum along to the music with their head leaning against the windows, looking out, pressed temple damp and cold

There is a big collage on the wall that holds kid-TV-gameshow-slime aesthetic and on three screens in front of it, a video plays like the intro to that fictional kid’s show. it has enthusiastic smiley people with lil crispy slug graphics wiggling over them in a new layer. I think about how I hate to be high-fived. how the videos are more porn, like the middle of sex, just it is looping. bums bounce on space hoppers, and you watch how it’s hard to breathe under a shower.

While I was standing in front of it all, Charles Jeffrey’s loverboy came to mind, the london club night and fashion troupe. that full house. idk why exactly, except maybe I related them as a provocation in my thinking. They share the Dazed/ID look, and they are both festive. but - Jeffrey’s fashion acts, involves, grows; and this installation is sober. It’s not that I think its sobriety is a problem, just separately - I worry the resignation in Faramawy’s installation means it is more successful quiet and flattened as an image for Instagram than something to encounter and pivot emotionally in the gallery space. I don't want that anymore tho, cause that line an easy get-out (and I don’t want that theory to be an excuse for the problem with scale in this work).

: (blinders off, I'm home now)

When I told my boyfriend that I was writing about the scale of this show, he said he saw Faramawy’s exhibition as a supporting act for Keith Piper’s, which is the main event on @ the bluecoat atm. which I didn’t consider, again, because of framing. The glass-half-empty Faramawy room should have been present and integrated with Piper’s work if its value was relation, bc as it stands, it’s like a half-installed exhibition that has been zoomed up into an attic on its own, away from context, a little neglected. it’s a good thing you have been keeping in the attic. but don’t you wanna take it down, dust it off, and put it in the living room where people can see it, where it wont be alone. yanno? like an art treasure

maybe curation is a type of care. I’m sad the art under the curator’s supervision has not been taken care of, that it has not been loved enough. i wanna see the artist with someone else