Moneyscape III, from the Imaginable Landscape series, originated from a response to childhood memories and experiences of the world through images printed on banknotes.
The work operates on the charming quality of the miniature world where collision of mythologies and histories create a multi-layered dynamic landscape. Through a linear arrangement of hand-cut Russian Ruble and US Dollar banknotes, attention is drawn to the theatrics of the power relations between Russia and America that have ensued since the Cold War. At the centre, the Russian Ruble features the ancient Greek deity Apollo riding a chariot, bringing to mind Friedrich Nietzsche's term The Apollonian Tendency – a feral impulse to bring discipline and structure to the irrational. Positioning Apollo in a confronting position between figures in the US two-dollar bill which features the scene of the Declaration of Independence, casts a tongue-in-cheek comment on the approaches to governance by the two nations.
Moneyscape III presents pressing international relations in a satirical and humorous, yet mystifying, manner of a perceived fictional veil. Is the Declaration of Independence more democratic than the Apollonian tendency? Who exactly has the upper hand? How are we embroiled in the aftermath?
Courtesy of Aicon Gallery, New York
Born in 1974, Dr. Abdullah M.I. Syed is a Pakistani-born contemporary artist and designer working between Sydney, Karachi and New York. His art practice weaves real and fictional narratives of east and west, seamlessly knitting together cultural and art historical references and concerns from each.
Trained in diverse disciplines, Syed utilises a variety of mediums and techniques to investigate collisions between art, religion, economy and politics. He holds a PhD in Art, Media and Design (2015) and a Master of Fine Arts (2009) from University of New South Wales, Sydney. Syed also holds a Bachelor of Art in Design (1999) and a Master of Education (2001) from University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), Oklahoma, USA. He coordinated the Department of Design at the University of Karachi and has lectured at UCO (2000-2003) and UNSW Art & Design (2009-2012).
Syed's works have been featured in 9 solo exhibitions and several national and international curated group exhibitions and performance events such as AsiaTOPA 2017, Substitute: The Untold Narrative of a Mother and Son, Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, Sydney (2016); Between Structure and Matter: The Other Minimal Futures, Aicon Gallery, New York (2016); Creative Accounting, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Sydney (2016); WAR, Newington Armory Gallery, Sydney (2016), Future Archaeology, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2015); Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto (2015); Subject to Ruin, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney (2014); Drawing Softly, Thinking Aloud, Yifu Gallery, Shanghai (2013); MiddleHead, Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney (2013); Play Pause Stop Rewind, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai (2012); Art Reserves, Canvas Gallery, Karachi (2012); The Rising Tide, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (2009); Resemble Reassemble, Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon (2010); How Nations are Made, Cartwright Hall, Bradford (2009); and Moving Ahead, National Art Gallery, Islamabad (2007).
Syed has also participated in the 3rd ASNA International Clay Triennial, Karachi (2003) and numerous art fairs including Art Dubai, Art Abu Dhabi, Art Stage Singapore, India Art Fair, Art Basel and Art Central, Hong Kong (2016) where he performed The Flying Buck. Syed's work is held in many private and public collections notably Devi Art Foundation, AAN Collection, ASAL Collection, Blacktown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse and University of Central Oklahoma and US Art in Embassy Islamabad Collection.
He has undertaken artist residencies at Fairfield City Museum and Gallery (2015-2016), Parramatta Artists Studios (2013-2015), Cicada Press (2009 and 2013) and Blacktown Arts Centre (2011) in Sydney. Syed's awards include the Blacktown Art Prize (2010), the UNSW Postgraduate Research Scholarship (2009) and the IAO Installation Art Award (2003). He was highly commended in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (2014) and was a finalist in the Hazelhurst Prize (2015), Moran Photography Prize (2014) and the Blake Prize (2013 and 2016).
hand-cut and assembled various Russian Ruble and US Dollar banknotes in custom Perspex vitrine
18.5 x 20.5 x 30 cm
Judges of the 2017 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize: Djon Mundine OAM (Curator, Writer, Artist and Activist), Roslyn Oxley OAM (Gallerist and arts benefactor) and Alexie Glass-Kantor (Executive Director, Artspace, Sydney and Curator, Encounters, Art Basel | Hong Kong).
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