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Mitochondria: Powerhouses, 2021

For Noor Riyadh 2021, Ahmed Mater collaborates with Factum Arte to develop the concepts he began to explore in 2017 with his piece Mitochondria: Powerhouses. Mater’s work reflects on the concealed and unacknowledged forces behind religion and natural resources, and alludes to the radical transformations that have reconfigured Saudi society since the mid-20th century, first with the discovery of oil, and later with the founding of massive new urban centres. The artworks in this project include an installation with a Tesla coil, an instrument that uses electromagnetic induction to create flashes of lightning, and a series of sculptures made of fulgurite, vitrified sand that forms when lightning hits the ground. The artwork is presented for the first time in an outdoor setting.

Danger: high voltage. Visitors should not enter the sandbank. The magnetic fields produced by the artwork may affect pacemakers. Please read onsite notices carefully.

King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD)

Mitochondria: Powerhouses, 2021

Ahmed Mater

Saudi Arabia

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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