Ahmed Mater’s Antenna (Green) (2010) stands as a metaphor for youth’s yearning to expand its horizons. Articulated in neon, the device is a ubiquitous home appliance that transmits information, a TV aerial. Recalling his personal experience as a young explorer searching for contact with the outside world, Mater often reached out to communicate across surrounding borders. Living in the southern region of Saudi Arabia, if positioned correctly, the TV antenna could receive signals from neighboring countries, whether Yemen from the south or across the Red Sea towards Sudan. The spirit of creative exploration and curiosity has defined the artist’s path ever since. As you enter the room where the sculpture is placed, the green light reflecting off the work conquers the viewer’s surroundings, reinforcing the strength of knowledge transfer that is realized once borders are transcended.
Ahmed Mater (b. 1979) is a Saudi physician turned conceptual artist. His work documents and scrutinizes the realities of contemporary Saudi Arabia, exploring collective memories to uncover and record unofficial histories.
In 2016, Mater became the first Saudi artist to hold a solo exhibition in the United States with Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC. Mater has held solo exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum, New York (2019); King Abdullah Economic City (2018); Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (2017); Galleria Continua, San Gimignano (2017); and Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2013), among others.
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