Khalid Al Gharaballi : Poor Image
The title of the exhibition is taken from German artist Hito Steyerl’s 2009 essay “In Defense of the Poor Image.” In it she says: “The poor image is a copy in motion. It’s quality is bad, it’s resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution…The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances.”
While Steyerl was referring to sharpness and resolution as indicators for placement within the hierarchy of images, the subject matter for this group of paintings isn’t focused solely on the clarity and quality of the source image but also on it’s geographical and historical origin. A low resolution thumbnail of a house found on a Kuwaiti real estate website, a blurry photo of a floor-bound sectional divan posted – years ago – on a now abandoned online Saudi forum, images where practicality rules and aesthetics are of no consequence and whose intended audience is limited to it’s geographical origin. While existing on the fringes of our collective online consumption, these images are inadvertently documenting the domestic landscapes of the Gulf.
This is Khalid al Gharaballi’s first solo exhibition after first establishing a duo practice with Fatima Al Qadiri and then co-founding GCC, the artist collective whose work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, the Sharjah Art Foundation, the New Museum, the Fridericianum, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.