The Iraqi-American painter Ahmed Alsoudani has joined London and New York-based Marlborough Contemporary. The gallery’s first Iraqi artist, Alsoudani’s signing is part of Marlborough’s efforts to both strengthen and diversify its roster of artists, which has traditionally been largely European and American.
Born in Baghdad in 1975, Alsoudani sought political asylum in the US in 1999 and is now based in New York. His dense paintings are swirling fields of turbulence, layered works that tread the thin line between abstractions and figuration. Although at first surreally beautiful, even ethereal, they are often despairing, addressing conflict, atrocities and death, both in Iraq and more universally.
“Ahmed does not flinch in tackling the political issues that threaten our freedoms and civil liberties,” says Max Levai, Principal Director at Marlborough Contemporary, “His commitment to drawing on his own experiences of wartime malfeasance is vital, particularly given the uncertainty of the current political climate. However, it is his unique approach to painting that drives the work, combining energetic draftsmanship and bold colour into dynamic compositions that make his appeal universal.”
Alsoudani’s international breakthrough came in 2011 when he was selected to represent Iraq for the first time at the 54th Venice Biennale. One year later he was chosen for the Matrix series at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Connecticut, showing alongside the likes of Willem de Kooning, Keith Haring, and Sol LeWitt. He has since had exhibitions around the world including at the Pinault Foundation at Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2011), Portland Museum of Art, Maine (2013), Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona (2013), and Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York (2014).