Nardeen Srouji / I had done this and I hadn’t done that
Jul 13 – Sep 23, 2023
Sommer Contemporary Art is delighted to announce the solo exhibition of artist Nardeen Srouji (born 1980 in Nazareth, lives and works in Haifa). At the heart of the exhibition, which marks the inauguration of Sommer Gallery’s new home at Tel Aviv, Srouji had planned to showcase a large scale house made of embroidered tin pallets. However, her vision took a turn. Instead of a house, Srouji presents an “Ant House” – a Galilean embroidery pattern adorning a table. This sculptural installation, as well as the window, column and door, are fragments, which represent the concept of home while questioning its essence.
“I had done this and I hadn’t done that. I hadn’t done this thing but I had done another. And so?” wrote Albert Camus in his novel The Stranger. Camus challenges the unified world of major literature and offers a new strategy to decipher reality. Srouji disrupts and unravels the conventional view of space, introducing a fresh perspective. Through deconstruction, Srouji examines the notions of stability and the perception of reality. While the column may initially resemble the supporting pillar of the gallery, it reveals its fragility as a mere paper structure. The window emerges from the wall’s surface, and the door, suspended in space, remains ajar, seemingly leading to an imaginary realm. Drawing inspiration from elements of early Arab architecture, these works provide glimpses into fleeting memories. Like the magnifying glass lens fixed within the door, Srouji’s art invites us to view space from a new perspective.
Amongst these symbols, the table embodies a sense of home for Srouji. She describes it as a central gathering point for connection. Crafted from perforated tin surfaces typically used for partition fences, the table becomes a canvas. On it, Sourji embroiders a pattern of Palestinian embroidery, which preserves ancestral patterns passed down for generations.
“The material doesn’t separate but it’s there to separate. It’s a perforated material made from non-materials,” says Srouji, “I’m fascinated by this gap between two points, that’s what I explore.” Through sculpture, embroidery, mixed media, and processes resembling digging, construction and archeology, Srouji delves into the gap between fiction and reality. By challenging conventional perceptions and the political conditions in which spaces exist,she offers new possibilitiesfor imagining them. She does this and doesn’t do that. She doesn’t build a house but embroiders an “Ant House”. And so what?