Posted on March 23, 2019

Qatar Museums announced the installation throughout Doha’s MIA Park of a new 10-piece sculptural work by Liam Gillick, Folded Extracted Personified. Now accessible for public viewing—and interaction—Gillick’s work is the latest installation in QM’s Public Art Program, which brings engaging, large-scale artworks into dialogue with people in the civic landscape of Doha.

Folded Extracted Personified comprises a series of ten irregularly shaped panel sculptures—each a flat surface folded into a zigzag—which bear images abstracted from works in the Museum of Islamic Art and the National Museum of Qatar. 

These sources from the extensive museum collections range from C12th Iraqi illustrations to Turkish armor circa 1475-1525 to Iranian portraiture of the early C19th period and examples of pearl jewelry.  There are two images on each two-meter-forty-high sculpture. Circular holes, cut into the surface enable people to peer through, after the fashion of “head-in-the-hole” attractions at carnivals and fairs. Distributed at carefully chosen sites throughout MIA Park, the sculptures serve as invitations to the public to interact with one another, performing for observers and being photographed.  The multi-part installation also invites playful interaction with the deep collections of Qatar museums by the many thousands of MIA Park users and was commissioned on occasion of the opening of the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar.

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Other major works in the Public Art Program that are now on view include “Desert Horse” by Qatari artist Ali Hassan, “Shift to Light” by Qatari artist Yousef Ahmad, Richard Serra’s East/West, West/East and 7, Louise Bourgeois’s Maman, Damien Hirst’s The Miraculous Journey, Urs Fischer’s Lamp Bear, Tony Smith’s Smoke, Dia Azzawi’s Flying Man, and Sarah Lucas’s Perceval. Temporary installations by Qatari ARToonist Ghada Al Khater are also on view through the program, as is Martin Creed’s Everything is Going to be Alright, which was commissioned to commemorate the anniversary of the blockade imposed on Qatar by neighboring countries.

Built adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art, MIA Park is a landscaped expanse where the public can stroll, participate in recreational activities, or view the Doha skyline from the best vantage point in the city. Taking advantage of the intergenerational nature of MIA Park, Gillick’s sculptures are installed in the vicinity of the MIA playground, which offers areas suitable for people of different ages. Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art at Qatar Museums (QM), said, “Through displaying various forms of art in public space, we aim to inspire local talent and establish an organic connection between art and the local community. We hope these works speak to people who may envision themselves as cultural producers, creative practitioners, and museum professionals in years to come.”

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Liam Gillick said, “Public art adds a new conversation about our context - both cultural and personal. This work is intended to celebrate the spirit of a diverse cultural landscape and provide an opportunity for spectators from all different backgrounds to playfully intersect. It is a tribute to the immense historical traditions of art and craft in the region." Qatar Museums works with many local and international artists to acquire and commission public artworks that connect residents and visitors to Qatar in myriad ways. Qatar Museums has brought works to public spaces including the Hamad International Airport, Qatar National Convention Centre, Salwa Road tunnels, and Zekreet village.