Mehdi Moutashar's Introspection Resistance
Mehdi Moutashar’s Solo Show Introspection as Resistance
19.11.2023
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Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) invites everyone to attend Introspection as Resistance, French-Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar’s first solo show in Qatar. Featuring a collection of his diverse new and existing artworks, it demonstrates how his practice connects contemporary art with the Arab-Muslim world’s heritage. The exhibition сurated by Amin Alsaden (a curator, writer, and educator) will be open to the public until the 4th of May, 2024.

Mehdi Moutashar, Introspection as Resistance (installation view). Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar, 2023.
Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

Drawing from Arabic calligraphy and Islamic ornamentation, Moutashar’s work is also visibly inspired by such art movements as Abstraction, Minimalism, and Op-Art. He creates artworks that are almost scientific in their mathematical precision. At the same time, they convey spontaneous and fleeting moments from the artist’s youth, when he admired mesmerising ornamentation in local mosques or witnessed shadows cast by palm trees. For Moutashar, introspection is a foundation for rigour and a means for challenging artistic conventions.

Mehdi Moutashar, Quatres Plis à 45°, 2012. Painted steel.
60 1/5 × 46 1/2 in | 153 × 118 cm

Moutashar’s art pieces reflect his belief in the connections between the personal and the cosmic truths that govern our lives. He considers visual and spatial expressions to be translations of mental processes presented in a tangible form, which invite reflection on the interrelations between everything around us. 

About the artist

Mehdi Moutashar (b. 1943, Hilla, Iraq) resides in Arles (France). He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts (Baghdad, Iraq) in 1966. In 1967, he received a grant to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Paris, France), from which he graduated in 1970. From 1974 to 2008, Moutashar was a professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (Paris). In 2018, the artist became a joint winner of the Jameel Prize 5 at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) (London, UK).

Mehdi Moutashar, Six Angles droits et un carré (Six right angles and a square), 2021.
Painted wood. 26 3/5 × 59 1/10 in | 67.5 × 150 cm

Moutashar has headed multiple solo exhibitions across the globe: Le Farinier (Cluny Abbey, Cluny, France, 2022); Abu Dhabi Art Fair (Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2021); an exhibition at Hoffmann Gallery (Friedberg, Germany, 2019); Measuring Space (Albareh Gallery and National Theater of Bahrain, Manama, Bahrain, 2017); an exhibition at Kufa Gallery (London, UK, 1997); and many others. The list of the group shows in which the artist has participated includes Beirut and the Golden Sixties: A Manifesto of Fragility (the 16th Lyon Biennale, macLYON, Lyon, France, 2022); Jameel Prize 5 (Jameel Arts Center, Dubai, UAE, 2019); Homage to Malevitch’s Black Square (Vasarely Museum, Budapest, Hungary, 2015); Notations (Academy of Art, Berlin, Germany, 2009); and others.

Mehdi Moutashar, trois plis à 90° pivotés de 30°, 2018. Steel, lacquered.
19 3/10 × 30 7/10 in | 49 × 78 cm

Moutashar’s works have been featured in a number of prestigious public collections: Gulbenkian National Museum of Modern Art (Baghdad, Iraq), Barjeel Art Foundation (Sharjah, UAE), National Gallery of Fine Arts (Ammann, Jordan), V&A, Kleine Museum (Weissenstadt, Germany); and Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris), to name a few.

To learn more about Introspection as Resistance, please visit the show’s official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Journey of a Letter by Wissam Shawkat