Heretic Spaces

Elmarsa is pleased to present Heretic Spaces, a solo exhibition by Tunisian artist Thameur Mejri from September 13th to October 19th 2017 at their gallery space in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. 

Mejri’s experimental style that draws on equally strong painting, drawing, and video practices to examine how social, political and cultural dynamics in the Arab world, and especially Tunisia, are projected on the male body through images in mass media. Inspired by artists Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso as much as filmmaker David Lynch, Mejri has created large scale mixed media works on canvas and smaller drawings on paper as well as a short video that express the physical and psychological effects of recent upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa.

Heretic Spaces represents a new body of work by the young artist, the compositions are dynamic in a manner that speaks to a cinematic eye for setting a dramatic scene while the faceless and fragmented bodies that inhabit those spaces reveal the effects of living in environment where sacred and secular authorities exert control and are omnipresent in daily life starting from childhood.  Seemingly benign everyday objects from televisions, toys, cars and light bulbs are mingled with menacing tools of state control and surveillance such as microphones, guns and tanks. Floating around the figures like secondary characters and props, they lurk in Mejri’s compositions, symbols of the disturbing state of contemporary life and the dehumanization of everyone in it.

In an essay included in the exhibition catalog, founder of the Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi describes his first encounter with Mejri’s work as, “the first time that I saw a work from the region that directly confronted the rising levels of violence and incitement in the Middle East and North Africa. Long before ISIS videos and the push back against democracy by extremist’s forces, Mejri had the foresight to capture the chaos of the breakdown of human order.”

The artist will be in attendance for the opening on September 13th and will be available for interviews.

About the Artist:

Born in 1982 in Tunis, Thameur Mejri trained as a painter at the Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis and now lives and works in Nabeul, Tunisia. He currently teaches at the Higher Institute of the Arts & Crafts in Kairouan while completing a PhD in Sciences and Technology of Arts and continuing to exhibit in Tunisia and internationally. His recent solo exhibitions include “Male (God) scarecrow” (2010) at Artyshow gallery in La Marsa, “Disaster pieces” (2012) at Elmarsa Gallery in Tunis, and “Before You Split the Ground” (2017) at Jack Bell Gallery in London. Produced in collaboration with his brother film director Kays Mejri, his video piece ''The Plague'' won the Prize for the best experimental short film in 2007 at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF). He has also participated in several group shows and international art fairs in the UAE, France, UK, Morocco and the United States.  His works are part of several private and public collections including Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah and Sindika Dokolo Collection, Luanda.


About Elmarsa: 

One of the most established galleries in the region, Elmarsa has been operating in Tunis since 1994 and opened their Dubai gallery in Alserkal Avenue in 2015. The gallery’s mission has always been to generate interest in Arab art from North Africa, specializing in both modern and contemporary practice. They have participated in every edition of Art Dubai since 2007 as well as a number of other prominent international art fairs and frequently publish monographs on their artists.

Exhibition Facts: 

Opening Hours: Saturday -Thursday 10am-7pm 

Location: 23, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, UAE

Contact: +971-4-3415806,