|The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to present Ahmed Alsoudani: Bitter Fruit, on view from November 12, 2021 through May 1, 2022. The culmination of the artist’s two-year residency, the exhibition will debut a new body of sculptural works created in collaboration with FWM.
Known for his vibrant, expressionistic paintings that allude to both shared and specific lived experiences, including the sustained exposure to violence society endures, Alsoudani collaborated with The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s team of studio artists to translate the organic forms from his drawings into an array of large-scale sculptures. Created between FWM and the artist’s studio, and then hand painted by Alsoudani, these forms are placed throughout the gallery as though growing directly from the space itself.
“Alsoudani’s interest in experimentation resulted in a project that is distinct from, yet related to, his paintings. We are thrilled to have collaborated with him on this new direction in his work,” explains Fabric Workshop and Museum Executive Director Christina Vassallo.
Bitter Fruit centers around five imposing, outsized sculptures. Through these corporeal forms that are disquieting in their manifestation of trauma, yet captivating in their intrinsic humanity, Alsoudani processes his own experiences in a war-torn region marked by devastation and mass violence, evoking the ways in which memories of widespread conflict can be internalized. The title of the exhibition is taken from Abel Meeropol’s 1937 poem of the same name, first set to music as a protest song against lynchings and later recorded as the song “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday in 1939. Here, Alsoudani draws connections with the role that art can play for communities in protest while simultaneously communicating unbearable and horrible experiences.
“The taste of fruit becomes bitter when it experiences stress and drastic changes in conditions,” says FWM Director of Exhibitions and Curator Karen Patterson. “This title—and this visual—poignantly help us understand the message Alsoudani is conveying about the ways in which our bodies are continuously processing and adjusting to our circumstances, and are forever changed as a result.”
Ahmed Alsoudani: Bitter Fruit is curated by Karen Patterson, Director of Exhibitions and Curator.