Vigo Gallery presents ‘Water and Electricity’ by Cairo based Sudanese artist Salah Elmur. The exhibition will be the artists second solo show with Vigo following the ‘Innocent Prisoner’ paintings shown in October 2021 at Somerset House for 1.54.
Salah Elmur, Liberty Fountain, 2021-2022. Acrylic on canvas, 185 x 320cm. Courtesy of Vigo Gallery.
Three works from this series are now in the collection of Centre Pompidou. Elmur has also had solo exhibitions at MACAAL, The Sharjah Art Museum and the Sharjah Art Foundation over the last few years.
‘Water and Electricity’ are necessary for life on our planet in the modern world and z capture memories real and imagined, the magic of his childhood, and the people and colours of Sudan. Water and power are our most valuable, precious resources and the infrastructure that we have built around these elements for him is a symbol of our history and potential as a species. Elmur uses the imagery of the water and power production as a vehicle to absorb memory, place and history. When the Central Authority for water and electricity, came knocking on the doors of his village as a child, it changed the landscape and amazed him completely filling him with wonder.
The largest work in this exhibition Liberty Fountain is about a stone statue that is said to make people who drink from it feel relaxed and lose their inhibitions. Hence the naked free women within the environs all drinking from the water and enjoying their freedom. In Electricity Tower two men pontificate on the world sharing stories and the news of the day.
Within the structures that house the water and distribute the electricity Elmur sees stories, shapes, and feelings. He talks of fisherman, bathers, celebration, sustenance, anthropomorphic visions, fear and hope, money and power, abstractions, imaginations and folklore.
The artist says: “Welcome to my imaginary soliloquy of paintings about water and electricity. That transparent magical form of matter that carries the soul within the body. Ordinary men and extraordinary women have bathed in sweet and salty waters. Fishermen draw their nets. Bathers enjoy its sweet splendors. Bottles and pipes carry it, and rain falls in celebration of children’s play, filling up wells, and washing fruits on trees. And when the water gets angry and pours its wrath on the earth from above or below it, there is no escape from it. And I see the water tanks; towers made of cement; high-rises loaded with water that break the sky. How beautiful are these metal beings, pointed, spherical, pyramidal or conical, on legs of steel intertwined in an embrace, like secret lovers. Cylinders that carry water from bottom to top and top to bottom. These beautiful buildings touch my heart and soul. In them I see lovers who have left their beloved, a woman who bears a rose that did not bloom. I see tall trees and the piety of the Sufis, raising their hands in prayer. Dreaming women on the banks of the rivers, naked as they swim in mystical worship. Workers during their rest period… Behind them stand the towering pumps and ahead of them lay the giant electrical generators. Dams and bridges, romantic backdrops where lovers come to meet. Lamps in the streets, where drunks and hermits lay below. It is water. It is electricity. It is a man dressed in clay-colored clothes, and everything in between. I can see all this, and I am amazed.”
The exhibition will be on view from the 1st of September until the 5th of October 2022. For more information, please visit Vigo Gallery.