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 2017, 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 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.

Abel Shah, 2022 Showreel

Abel Shah, Showreel: List of Works

1. Exodysis II, 2022

at The NewBridge Project, Newcastle Upon Tyne 


surgical plaster, cement, accelerated latex rubber, photocopies, aluminium, polystyrene resin, translation dictionary, newsprint, metal wire, cotton, fibreglass, cellulose insulation, shellac, sand, varnish, water, steel

 

Exodysis II is the second iteration of Exodysis, first exhibited at the Swiss Church in London in 2021. Influenced by thinking around bodies as archives, the sculptures are reminiscent of skin- or vessel-like objects. Some fragile, awkwardly balanced or shedding their layers, the objects are in parallel states of destruction and repair. Constructed from everyday materials that have been integral to the developments of the 20th and 21st century’s, including urban housing, high-speed transportation, healthcare technologies, information storage and control of movement, the objects start to act as “shells” of our everyday environments and recent histories.

 

With collaboration at the core of our practice and an interest in the gallery as a space of facilitation, the body of work has developed alongside ongoing dialogues with fellow practitioners and collaborators by thinking about how meaning and relationships are built through language and exploring alternative ways of communicating.

 

For Exodysis II, we inviting fellow practitioners Incursions and Aaron Tan to interrupt the installation throughout the duration of the exhibition.

 

 

2. Exodysis I, 2021

at The Swiss Church in London

 

surgical plaster, cement, accelerated latex rubber, photocopies, aluminium, polystyrene resin, translation dictionary, Evening Standard, metal wire, cotton, fibreglass, cellulose insulation, shellac, sand, varnish, water, steel

 

Exodysis I is an open-ended sculptural installation that invites others to engage, leave traces and create memories within the installation. The body of work has developed alongside ongoing dialogues with fellow practitioners and collaborators by thinking about how meaning and relationships are built through language and exploring alternative ways of communicating. By using materials which make up the cocoons of our everyday environments and recent histories, the sculptures start to act as symbols of the layeredness of our own skins and experiences.

 

As part of Exodysis I, we invited artists Sarah White and tyroneisaacstuart to embark on a conversation through movement during a 90min live performance with and amongst the sculpture installation. The installation was left imbedded with the marks and traces of the performance for the remaining duration of the exhibition. 

 

3. Babel is Just a Name, 2021

concrete, reinforced steel, acrylic sheet, wood, chalk, wheels

 

Babel is Just a Name is based on research into language origin theories and is heavily in influenced by the Tower of Babel story in the Bible. The sculpture represents a foundation as the structure on which language has been built, layered with a “screen” and chalk “ruins” abstractly depicting the movement of people, thought and the brittleness of words.

 

4. Speak Easy…, 2019

at The Florence Trust, London

 

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

Speak Easy... is a series of works that investigate language as a structure of power. The casted objects of bodily and mechanical parts oscillate between bouncing, vibrating, balancing, stretching and pulling, thus reflecting a system of instability, powerful invisible forces, fragility and tension. 


As part of the work, we collaborated with opera singer Mohsen Masoumi to create a ‘singing sculpture’. He performed operatic interpretations of the nonsensical Lorem Ipsum text in response to the sculpture which acts a vessel to his voice.

 

5. Voice Box & Lorem Ipsum Unnamed #2, 2019

at Tate Exchange,Tate Modern, London

 

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

 

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 one 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.

 

6. Speak Easy… (stretch), 2019

at horse shed, Manchester/online

 

surgical plaster, bungee cords, metal hooks, website

 

horse shed is an LGBTQ 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 that is 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.