By Eric Broug
Taking part in this year’s Islamic Arts Festival in Sharjah (until 16th January 2017) is the artist Ahmad Nabih Keshta. The pieces he’s exhibiting are made entirely of wire clothes hangers. Yes, clothes hangers.
Ahmad assembles them in such a way that they create large, regular surfaces, very much related to the principles of repetition and tessellation that are such an essential part of the heritage of Islamic geometric design. Similar to this heritage,Ahmad Nabih Keshta’s works also baffles and astounds the observer. When first seeing one of his work in its entirety, it is both simple and hard to read. We recognise the regularity, which makes it accessible. But, usually we expect to understand something better by looking more closely. With Ahmad’s work, the opposite is initially the case. The clothes hangers are hardly recognisable and, when we do finally recognise the shapes of clothes hangers, our initial response is one of incredulity. It’s almost impossible to believe that anyone could make such amazing shapes and surfaces with only one identical objects, used many times over. The simplicity of the ingredients adds to the complexity, and the complexity of the piece becomes accessible through its essential simplicity. His works occupies a space between art and science and as such, is a continuation of a centuries-old tradition in Islamic art, especially in the area of geometric design. The act of using clothes hangers to make these pieces might also say something about the relationships between art, fashion and structure.
Ahmad was born in Egypt and studied Applied Arts at Helwan University in Cairo. He moved to Europe for further studies and eventually made his home in Andorra, the tiny state in the Pyrenees mountains, between Spain and France.
Catch his work while you can at the Sharjah Art Museum, until the 16th of January.
For more info about Ahmad Nabih Keshta: www.keshta.net