New public works of art appear on the facade of Mathaf

Qatar’s museums this weekend unveiled an addition to their public artwork in the country.

Neon public artwork by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art reads ‘THEY ASKED ME TO CHANGE IT AND I ACCEPTED’. It’s by visual artist Adel Abidin, who currently resides between Helsinki, Finland and Amman, Jordan.

The latest public artwork is among 40 major new artworks planned across the country ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Currently, Qatar has over 80 public artworks spread across the country.

“Abidin uses his cross-cultural experience to create a distinct visual language that is often laced with sarcasm and paradox, while maintaining an ultimately humanistic approach,” Qatar Museums said on its official social media accounts.

He explained that the artist highlights the intertwining of Qatar’s major art institutions and the local community that positions the public as an integral part of the creative process, presenting the “museum” as a living organic entity rather than a simple building.

In a statement, artist Abel Abidin said he was honored to have his work installed on the facade of the Mathaf building. “Art is always about change, the work looks and feels like a snippet of dialogue, an abstract sentence, but it opens the window to many interruptions. It would make people wonder: what are they asking to change and who?”

He said his work is “a view of contemporary art as a collaborative process, based on compromises to achieve the right presentation of any hypothesis or visual argument, which aims to get people thinking. The choice to have this work installed on a museum façade underscores the notion of how art institutions play a key role in influencing the conceptual artist’s dialogue with locals.

The artist said art institutions these days don’t follow a classic conservative path. “They’re more about creating challenges that would put viewers and locals in a place where they could be part of the creative process, so they themselves could make a change. To transform the museum itself from the idea of ​​being only a building to a living organic entity that opens wide angles of perception of contemporary conceptual art.

Abidin’s art uses various media including videos, video installations, multimedia sculptures and sound installations and photography to explore issues of the contemporary world in which we live. Its main point of departure is always linked to the intention of exploring the complex relationship between visual art and politics and identity.

Qatar has promised that fans and visitors arriving for the World Cup will have a unique experience of public art throughout their journey – from their arrival at the airport, metro stations, hotels and fans zones, up to stadiums.

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