“Let me tell you something,” Mohamed Khalid’s first institutional solo show, features seven new commissions of photography, installation, cyanotypes, and works on paper. Drawing on his lived experiences and material environment, the Dubai-based artist creates works concerned with the search for intimacy and connection in our hyperisolated times.
This search can take humorous forms. Thank you (all works cited, 2022) offers a diptych of blue noticeboards pinned with drawings reproducing a handwritten parking warning left on Khalid’s car by his building’s security guard, as well as the artist’s penned response declaring that he would gladly continue parking incorrectly (and incurring fines) if it meant receiving more notes from his “friend.” For Flixbus, Khalid re-created a bus shelter, along with a screenshot of the artist’s Google Translated plea for help recovering luggage lost on a bus to Venice. “Please?” / “Per favore?” it concludes. The suitcase was never found, but the artist did stumble upon the company’s uniform years later in a local thrift store. It now hangs on the back of the shelter.
Clipped to wires strung across the room is During work hours, a piece that Khalid produced on lunch breaks from his nine-to-five gig. The cyanotype-treated textiles bear statements chronicling his experience as an artist with a day job: “thinking about my labor value during work hours,” “thinking about my bank balance during work hours.” Khalid’s gestures can be read as attempts to obtain a reprieve from the frenzied pace of an economy-driven life. Conceivably, this exhibition is yet another attempt to forge genuine connections, as the artist transforms the audience into his confidants.
— Yalda Bidshahri