Abel Shah - Portfolio

A little bit about us...

 

Abel Shah is an artist duo consisting of Alex Bell and Giulia Shah, both currently based in London. 

Collaborating since 2016, we share similar interests in “authorship”, the (re)presentation of “things”, generation of knowledge and structures of power. We have been developing a dialogical approach to art making, and found that alternative ways of communicating, language, meaning and translation are the core subjects within our practice. 

Our work manifests itself into multi-media installations and series of works. By collecting and constructing objects, texts, image and sound, we try to obstruct notions of substance and confuse signs of hierarchy. The relationships between image/object, real/fake, virtual/physical, visible/hidden, written/oral are all important dualisms in our practice reflecting our approach to the ongoing exchange and opposition that exists when making art as a non-singular artist.

Continually questioning our entity as a duo and the need to shift the definitions of authorship and “the artist”, collaboration and disruption of a singular perspective is at the core of our approach. As a duo we are interested in the creation of alternative points of view and forms of communication, which we believe make up for more diversity and ways of understanding the world we live in. 

Not only in our “studio” practice are we are extremely interested in finding forms of exchange; Since mid 2018 we have been running Residency 11:11 from our home in London which we see as a parallel to our practice and a direct reflection of our artistic ambitions to find alternative forms of “collaboration” and community. 
 

You can find our cv here.

Below are 6 works/projects that we have selected to support our proposal:

1. Speak Easy...

2. Voice Box & Lorem Ipsum Unnamed #2

3. Speak Easy... (Stretch)

4. SCIENCE FACTION

5. Garden, Cook, Sing - residency 11:11

6. Residency 11:11  

1. Speak Easy... (2019)

Made in collaboration with Mohsen Masoumi - 2019

Exhibited at The Florence Trust, London

surgical plaster, bungee cords, vibration motor, vinyl prints, photocopies, speakers, metal hooks, resin pigment, glasswax, wax, wood, clay

Casted body parts bounce, microscopic images of human tongue specimens vibrate sporadically, an operatic song designed to 'not be understood' sings from a hieroglyphic monolith. A feeling of fragility and tension is created reflecting the invisible forces at play within language.

 

Collaborating with opera-singer Mohsen Masoumi, this ‘singing sculpture’ is based on the nonsensical Lorem Ipsum text and reflects on Masoumi's experiences of mis/understanding being Iranian seeking asylum in Europe. The installation explores non-linguistic dimensions of storytelling and the emotional impact of language as a barrier.

SOUND ON FOR THIS VIDEO

Walking amongst the sculptures, visitors are immersed in the harmonic tones of an opera sound work. The acapella seems to transform the body into a vessel for the music. Though visitors might not understand the words, the melody opens up the space for a deeply shared feeling.

Tyler Woolcott, Curator at The Florence Trust, London

       T̴o̴n̴g̴u̴e̴ ̴t̴i̴e̴d̴.̴ ̴S̴t̴u̴c̴k̴ ̴i̴n̴ ̴s̴t̴i̴t̴c̴h̴e̴s̴.̴ ̴S̴w̴a̴l̴l̴o̴w̴e̴d̴ ̴m̴y̴ ̴p̴r̴i̴d̴e̴.̴

 

“Language as a system of signs and words only has meaning

because of the contrast between these signs” 

≋V≋i≋b≋r≋a≋t≋i≋o≋n≋s≋

“Everything we know about reality is understood solely through the context of language"

“ And our tongues have become 

dry           The wilderness has 

dried out our tongues        And 

we have forgotten speech “

 

 

 

 

 

m̷̡̫̼͔̯͗ÿ̵̧͍͎̗̟̣͚́͋͆̔͘ ̴̥̪͑͗̾́͘̕͝f̴̜̪̠͎̹̘̰̫̽͝ĩ̶̧̗̞̩̽̉̒̏͝͝n̸̨͙̰͚͉͓̂̓͋͋̇̌̈́͌g̶̝͔̳̞͓͙̥̦̔͋̐̈́̋̋͋̈́e̴̢̛̘̙̻̎̇̊͌̎̚͝r̵̯͕̞̤̄s̷̰̿̀̾͠͠ ̶̨̫̖̻̠̔͌̈́͊͐̉̓͂͝m̸̞͚͍͆̋̓͛̏͒̚͝͠ǫ̶͕̘̹̙̍̾́͊̐̀̾̓͋͝v̴̗͐̃͑̋̆͑̈́e̷̠͇̭̭̻͔͖͒ ̶͔̈́̉̇́͛̾͑ș̶̨̧̛̛̙͉̺̗͐̋l̶̪̦͖̹͈̝͉͙̻̖͒͂̈́̕͠y̸̛̘̣͖̯͔͑̒͜ ̵̨̻̱̥͝a̷͉̼̮̲͑g̴̛̞̀͆͑͘͝å̶̡̪̊͑̍̃̈̓̍̒̔͜͜ḯ̶̥̲̫̘̮͒̐̉͘ͅn̶͙͇̥͍͇̦̣̮̄̉̅ş̵̣͚̥̩̘̱̳̪͖͛͌͗̿̾́́͊̇̀t̸̼̯͊̅͌͆̓ ̸̢̗͓̱̩̖̞̺́y̷̱͚͒̈́̏o̶̡̱̙̼͎̜̝̖̊͋͛͋̍̈̾͠͝u̷̢̠͎̯̝͓̅͛ŗ̸̨̛̖̤͔̥̫̓͋̉͒̉̀̊͠͝ ̴̧̛̠͕͔̘̞̔̊̍̑̐̔̿̀̃ͅp̵̺̬̼̗̐̆̆͐̾̅̆̏̂͘ȃ̷̪͙͍̪̯̝͙̰̬̈́͑͌̆͗̓͆̅́ĺ̴̗͗̈̔̔̾m̵̛̻̲̀͛͌̓̈́̎̀̆̿ͅ ̵̨̧̧͍̠̫̼͔̪̌

̶̮͉͍͓̥̐͠l̴̝͈͙̫̠̱͇̽̊̽͂͑̍͒͘͠i̸̢̛̹̞̓͋͊̎̏͠ķ̷̧̥̫̭̤͇̞̼̉̽̉̕̕ẽ̴̮ ̸̨̹͖̝̂̈́̏͗ẅ̴̳̬̠̙̝̪͖͕͗̈́̔̃͛̽̈́͜͝ͅǫ̸͔̬̒̆͂̍ͅm̸͖̟̹̤̝̱̫͇͔͚͌͛̚ē̵̘̲̒̍̊̾̾́͐͠n̷̢͓̭͉̯͙̳͈̮̐̿́̍ ̵̥̻̽̒͗͒e̸̪̺̮̿͋̂̏̀v̴̨̤̫̗̜͛͌͐͊̆͒̃̍̚ḙ̴̫͈̟͔̰̘̹̟͐̒͆̀̈́̔ͅṛ̸̛̞͍̗̹̒̽̉̑̍̆̊͑͐ͅy̴͍̝̒͌͊͆̒̊̆́͘͘ẅ̶̜̓̈̀̓͆͗͊͝h̵͉̰̪͙̳͈̮̬̀̆͐ë̴͈̮̺͉͐ŗ̶̢̯̺͚̠̀̽̎͗̋͊̿̏͝ȩ̶̧͓̰̬̺͙͓͓́̆́͆̋͛̓̎,̷̰̝̱͈̩͍̟̱̮̳̿̽ ̴̰͎͙̠̼͉̀̏̎͝ẉ̴̠̟̀͋́͗͝e̷̖̤͙̱̩̥̲͒́͑̐͘ ̷̥̗̼̩̘̪̗̱̊̇̓̕ͅͅṡ̷͕͇̪̭̪̜͈̭͖͉̅̔̀͒p̸̢̗͈͍͚̍e̴̹̎̿̿̈́̈́̈̎̀̇͝ḁ̷̤͕̑̏k̴̢̒͆̀̑̇͝ ̷͎̣̤̟̯͐̋̎̅̀͗̂͆͌i̴̛̘͔̻͍͈͙̥͚̺͜ǹ̶̜̰̦̬̪̱̞̮̯͓ ̸̠̭̫͇̇̌̉̽̀́͑̍̚͝c̷̡̛̠͙͍̼̔̆̄͆̂͝͠ȏ̵̭̙̔̽d̵͙͕̠̣̔͒̑̂̚e̶͉͆͊.̷̲̺̜͇̯̲͆͒̌̈́̈̀̅.̶̢̻̥̜̰̬͉̟͇̳̅

 

 

 

 

 

      Dissolved. Disintegrated. Buried. 

2. Voice Box & Lorem Ipsum Unnamed #2

Made in collaboration with voice-over artist Stacey Goddard and actor Alexander Devrient - 2019

Exhibited at Tate Exchange,Tate Modern, London

surgical plaster, metal hooks, digitally printed poster, mp3 player, headphones

Sculpture: W 8cm x H 40cm | Sound: 8m10s (on loop)

This installation connects image, object, sound and technology to explore how different forms of communication alter our physical experience of language.

 

A female and male voice read the nonsensical Lorem Ipsum text in competition with on another and into separate ears. A distorted human face watches them awkwardly, the viewer is trapped in-between sound, object and image. A feeling of discomfort and absurdity is created, and raises questions about the gender hierarchy and binaries enforced by language.

CLICK PLAY TO TURN SOUND ON

Lorem Ipsum Unnamed #2
00:00 / 08:10

Abel Shah bridges sculptural and performative practices in new and refreshing ways. The work challenges the production of knowledge by foregrounding and investigating collaborative practices. The explorative nature results in open-ended bodies of works. These chapters can function as a starting point for further conversation with experts and people with different lived experiences. Abel Shah's generous approach to collaboration means they extend their dialogue through workshops, try-outs, reading groups, and other forms of exchange.

 

Over the last years Abel Shah has embedded their practice into new and existing virtual spaces where this community-based approach holds a new urgency. I'm very interested to see how their practice will further develop at this turning point in their career while they continue to respond to the fast-changing world.

 

I have been fortunate to maintain a continuous dialogue with Abel Shah and look forward to future collaborations.

Mels Evers, Assistant Curator Displays at Tate Britain, London

3. Speak Easy... (Stretch)

Exhibited with horse shed, Manchester/online - 2019

surgical plaster, bungee cords, metal hooks, website

Video: documentation showing two iterations of the evolving Internet artwork

horse shed is an LGBT arts project space kept online as a queer archive. Investigating how online spaces can act as safe spaces for queer expression and identity, exhibitions are installed in a rural building publicly accessed online.

 

Offline - we experimented with performative aspects of sculpture and documentation. Online - we explored the internet as a medium and information distribution tool. Viewers repeatedly returned to discover the work in transformation as the web of links, videos and sounds embedded throughout the online exhibition evolved.

SOUND ON FOR THIS VIDEO

Speak Easy...(Stretch) at horse shed is one of the best examples of a ‘digital exhibition’ that I have encountered recently. This work inhabits the digital space in a way which is sensitive to the possibilities and constraints (both mechanical and aesthetic) of that interface. It creates a network of associations and shifting sequences of reference which lead the user outside of the confines of the original digital space within which it is initially contained.

Sarah White, Mentor to Visual Artists at Morphē Arts, London

4. SCIENCE FACTION

Tabloid newspaper, 28 pages, 2018

This publication is an exploration of our fascination of the fine line between the spectacle and ‘reality’, the (un)real and how the passing of time can alter fact into fiction and fiction into fact. Inspired by a quote found on Google search  - ‘There‘s No Such Thing As Proof In The Scientific World – There‘s Only Evidence’ - this series explores the relationship between human nature, science, technology and always changing truths.

5. Garden, Cook, Sing

Residency 11:11 Online Publication, 2020

Visit Garden, Cook, Sing HERE

6. Residency 11:11

2018 - ongoing

Residency 11:11 is an artist residency we run both on- and offline alongside our practice as Abel Shah. To find out more about 11:11 visit the website HERE