BASMOCA Virtual Museum LAUNCH! April 24, 2011


Today visionary contemporary art collector, Basma Alsulaiman, presents Breaking Barriers – the inaugural exhibition to launch her innovative, virtual museum, BASMOCA  (See images atached). The exhibition is made up of a striking selection of international pieces from her private collection and includes a broad sweep of period, provenance and style. Grouped into eight rooms in the Second Life Gallery, the show spans everything from iconic art by established Western artists to lesser-known pieces by leading Chinese and Saudi talents. The pan-global feel and eclecticism of this collection brings a very fresh and broad perspective to the gallery experience and allows for some rare and enlightening juxtapositions. In one room, for example, classic Bridget Riley Op Art (Tambourine,1989) hangs alongside contemporary composite works by Saudi artists, Hussein Al Mohasen (Mystic on White, 2009) and Bassem Al Sharqi (Jeddah Barcodes, 2010), prompting the viewer to discover a connection between these culturally diverse pieces (the suggestion of movement, perhaps, or the geometry of shape). In another room, vibrant work by iconoclastic Chinese painters, Zhou Tiehai and Wang Guangyi (photo below left), and Iranian photo-journalist, Jamshid Bayrami is united by colour, satire and questions of cultural identity.

Indeed, despite the diversity of the art on show, it is the commonality that is striking in this exhibition. Each piece – whether a modified oil painting by Banksy or a photographic triptych by Saudi artist, Faisal Samra (photo right)  – seems an attempt to break down the stereotypes of identity – whether historical, cultural, social or geographical – by investigating the interface between the public and the private, the cliché and the individual; image and reality. One of the few 3D pieces in the exhibition – Ai Wei Wei’s Table with Three Legs (2007) does this literally, of course, in its dis- and reassembling of an original Qing dynasty piece.

Basmoca’s mission is to remove barriers in the art world by enabling anyone and everyone to view this rich and varied private collection, but this first exhibition does more than that. By showing these disparate pieces alongside each other, Breaking Barriers allows the viewer to see at first hand the similarities – both stylistic and intellectual – between them. And, brought together by one strong, personal vision, all the artworks coalesce to create an exhibition that feels coherent and unified and one that starts to forge a connection, both visually and conceptually, between East and West.

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