Change Your Life critiques a fashionable practice of performative masculinity (i.e. working out) and places it as a contemporary motif of religiosity. A moving tableau, Change Your Life consists of a gym which will be open during the commission’s five weeks to pre-selected young, male fitness professionals where they will participate in a workout regimen. The installation looks carefully at Alserkal Avenue’s proximity to an increasing number of fitness centres within the framework theorised by Peter Sloterdijk in his 2013 book You Must Change Your Life in which the German philosopher tracks the history and philosophy of practice and discipline. By making their connections more explicit, Khalid’s commission exposes the blurring between the potentially aesthetic, ascetic and athletic demands of contemporary life in the Gulf.
Born in Saudi Arabia in 1984, Raja’a Khalid is a Dubai-based artist. She received her MFA in Fine Art from Cornell University, where she was also the recipient of the Cornell Council for the Arts Grant in 2013. Her practice is concerned with the Arabian Gulf region and its narratives of class, ultra luxury and consumer culture.
The paints and powder-coatings used in the making of this commission have been generously provided by Jotun.