Phantasy and reality
Everything in this life exists in different forms and positions and most people walk by without paying any attention to them. Only a trained eye can imagine these things in new forms. This talent enables them to exploit the environment in different fields. Life and art are examples of these fields, they are able to create beautiful shapes by connecting different things from our reality. This enables the artist to establish himself as the producer of interesting visual objects. Mohammed Alani has mastered the visual work that focusses on the idea of the physical existence, the existence that allows us to leave out traces in this life. These traces can differ from person to person. The characteristic of existence is the presence of a thinking being that understands the world around it, or as René Descartes describes it: “I think, therefore I am”. Existence according to Alani is the union of ideas and hands: the brain creates a plan and works together with the hands to execute it. This is not an easy nor an arbitrary process. Alani immediately gives us a symbol: the red cross. Even though this is a well-known symbol when seen on a first aid kit, he uses it to show us different meanings. The color red is known to symbolize danger and warnings, so why does he make this the base of his artwork? He wants to remind his audience that everything has a starting point and that this beginning, whether it is fast or slow, applies to all the materials used in the artwork. The metal of which several First Aid boxes have been made, is often used because it is robust and can withstand difficult circumstances. Yet these events can leave their traces and those traces are the start of the story of how it was used. Even though it has a bright white color, the signs of use on the corners raise questions: how many people have handled this box already? How often has it been used? What caused these traces? Neglect? A fall? Or was someone fidgeting with it? And why was it neglected? It raises a lot of questions, just like the story of the brick. Was it used in the building of a house or an institution? Was is part of a room of a fence? Of a child’s room? Or a woman’s or an old man’s? Was is discarded during maintenance or renovation of an old house? And what about the rope and the long piece of clay? The clay is like a pillar or a rock that has been subjected to natural forces that gave it it’s shape. Mohammed Alani gives us an idea of the life of the inanimate objects we use, but of which we have never asked ourselves exactly how useful they are to us and how they help us in our lives. We don’t appreciate them and see them merely something we discard when they have expired. This is why the artist gave them this shape, to appreciate these objects as part of a human life, resembling a totem. Especially the Native American wooden pillars with colorful shapes, but it also resembles African statues and even The Kiss from sculptor Constantin Brancusi.
Dr. Ahmed Khlaif Mankhi
translation: Sofie Van Den Abbeele