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Change Your Life critiques a fashionable practice of performative masculinity (i.e. working out) and places it as a contemporary motif of religiosity. The installation looks carefully at Alserkal Avenue's proximity to an increasing number of fitness centers 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. Listen to the conversation between artist Raja'a Khalid and artist Lantian Xie as they explore the blurring between the potentially aesthetic, ascetic and athletic demands of contemporary life in the Gulf.
Through the process of creation and installation, Raja'a Khalid worked collaboratively with Jotun Powder coatings, who helped her creation come to life. We interviewed Jotun Powder Coatings to learn more about their collaborative experience with an artist.
Could you talk us through how you came to collaborate with artist Raja’a Khalid.
We were originally approached by Alserkal Avenue to assist Raja’a Khalid, a well-known artist, with her commission for Art Week 2017 titled 'Change Your Life’. As a first step, we were introduced to Raja’a and briefed on her creative concept, which we found to be quite unique and interesting. It critiques a fashionable practice of performative masculinity (i.e. working out) and places it as a contemporary motif of religiosity.
At Jotun, we are keen to engage in new collaborations and help implement the most exciting ideas. We contributed to Raja’a’s commission by providing the powder coated elements and introduced her to suppliers who could help her in bring her concept to life.
Is this the first time Jotun Powder Coatings has collaborated with an artist?
Jotun Powder Coatings have collaborated successfully with artists and designers around the world. Most recently, we worked with another distinguished artist, Sara Polmer, wherein our products were used to coat her designs showcased at Milan Design Week 2017. This is the first time we are collaborating with an artist in the Middle East. Needless to say, it has been quite a new and exciting experience for us. We hope this collaboration will open doors for us to partner with other artists in the region and allow us to support the growing art community in this part of the world. Powder coatings can unlock design opportunities allowing artists, furniture designers and architects to carry out their boldest ideas. For example, our newly launched Woodspiration Collection has been developed to bring out the aesthetics of real wood to aluminium or steel projects.
Talk us through the experience of working creatively with an artist like Raja'a.
The whole experience of working on this project with an artist like Raja’a has been very thrilling for us. It was truly inspiring to understand Raja’a’s thought process as well as her perspective on things. Her concept is a moving tableau consisting of a gym, which included a number of pre-selected young, male fitness professionals who were given an opportunity to participate in a workout regimen. As this is the first of its kind activation for Jotun Powder Coatings, we had the chance to dwell deeper into the mind-set of the artist and truly understand the process and efforts involved in creating such a beautiful work of art.
Did Raja’a have the creative dominion when it came to selection of coloring in relation to her works? Or was it a collaborative effort?
The concept, idea and design were developed by Raja’a herself, and the colour scheme was carefully selected to meet the requirements of her installation. The entire commission is a result of her ingenuity and craftsmanship, and she had complete creative freedom. Our role in this collaboration was to help Raja’a meet her artistic vision using the best possible coating selections. This is what we do at Jotun Powder Coatings – we give artists, designers and architects the most advanced, functional and sustainable products without any compromise. We offer a variety of colour finishes, and will continue to develop solutions that help bring creative desires to life.
Is a project like this something Jotun Powder Coatings would potentially take
We had such a wonderful time working with both Al Serkal Avenue and Raja’a that we would love to do it all over again! As Jotun Powder Coatings, we have now been exposed to the art community in the region and strongly feel we can further support and offer our expertise to help artists and designers transform their ideas into reality.