Mohammed Sami (born 1984, Baghdad, Iraq) channels his personal experiences of living in Iraq and later when he immigrated to Sweden into his painting practice. His works exquisitely render abandoned interiors, claustrophobic landscapes, and uncanny depictions of apparently everyday objects. There is a haunting absence of people in these depictions of space and place, the power of which lies as much in what cannot be seen or hovers just beyond the frame.
Sami draws our attention to certain textures, colours, and forms in each of his compositions: an ominous shadow cast over the crumbling façade of a building; the clustered shadows of trees covering a glowing edifice in the background, or an impenetrable wall pushing up against the painting’s foreground. It is within such evocative details that belated memories are triggered and simmer below the surface of the painting. In Sami’s work, time, like memory, is treated and experienced as a flexible material.
Working directly onto the canvas using a brush, pallet knife, acrylic and spray paint, Sami never takes photographs or makes sketches, instead mining his own experiences from his formative years in Iraq. Yet while his works are freighted with personal memories, they are ambiguous enough to invite multiple associations and readings within each enigmatic composition.
The Point 0 is Mohammed Sami’s first institutional solo exhibition in the UK and is organised by Camden Art Centre in collaboration with De La Warr Pavilion. A previous iteration was exhibited at Camden Art Centre between 27 January – 28 May 2023. This presentation at DLWP features four new large-scale paintings unveiled here for the first time.
Press release from De La Warr Pavilion