16 May 2024 - 25 Aug 2024

Mona Ayyash: The Clock Doesn’t Care

421 Arts Campus


In her first solo exhibition, The Clock Doesn’t Care, Mona Ayyash presents a collaborative video piece with a group of actors, dancers, and performance artists, focusing on small body movements. The work is a study of repetitive non-functional movements, without purpose or productivity. It questions the tension between passing time and wasting time.

Selected through an open call, the artist’s collaborators committed to a long-term creative process where they contributed to the work by filming themselves responding to movement prompts, encouraging them to consider what ‘doing nothing’ looks like.

Ayyash extracts fragments of the collected footage and edits them to be layered one over the other or side-by-side, constantly changing, accumulating, and subtracting. The everyday and the mundane are themes highlighted in work, as the bodies are stuck repeating their movements in a loop, going nowhere. The use of repetition attempts to expand time, giving the gesture more space to claim its value.

Without a clear narrative to hold the spectator’s attention, the exhibition serves as a playful inquiry into the objective nature of time. The exhibition’s title, The Clock Doesn’t Care, expresses how time, indifferent to our individual pursuits, will continue its inevitable move forward without concern or coercion. 

The exhibition design imagines a fragmented route featuring viewing platforms and cut-out frames for an immersive viewing experience. Ayyash quietly rejects the notion of stimulation, inviting visitors to engage with boredom through repetition and slowness, encouraging them to let time pass.

This project grew from the artist’s earlier participation in the Homebound Residency Program in 2020, where she produced a video work titled Folding Bellies in collaboration with five participants from the UAE art community.

Ayyash is participating in the 2024 cycle of the 421 Artistic Development Program, mentored by Jolaine Frizzell. The Artist Development Program is a capacity-building program that gives UAE-based artists the opportunity to develop a major body of work that culminates in a solo exhibition. 

The artist would like to thank Inês de Almeida, Dana Amer, Ahmed Elsaghier, Ralph Kabalan, Dalia Khalife, Sara Masinaei, Mohsen Mohi, Vighnesh Prasad, and Alina Vishnevskaia.

Press release from 421 Arts Campus

Image: Mona Ayyash. Still from The Clock Doesn’t Care. 2024. Video. Image courtesy of the artist