Tasneem Gallery is pleased to be working with Ixone Sádaba, one of the most compelling of contemporary Spanish artists. The gallery will present a solo exhibition of the artist from December 13, 2014 to March 2015, which show for the first time the 15 photographs of the Gulala series.

In black and white, the pieces show semi-abstract close-up images of human traces made on the walls, ceilings and floors of some enclosed space. At first sight it seems to be a composition of textures and chiaroscuro through which the artist shows her skill with the camera; but the fragility of these large pieces of newsprint contrasts with the harshness of the content. These images are traces and fingerprints, found by the artist, made by women and children confined and tortured in the once-feared Amna Suraka (Red Security) prison in the town of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Gulala is the Kurdish word for opium poppy, a flower which carpets Kurdistan in Spring, and is an internationally recognized image representing war. Gulala is also one of the most popular women’s names in Kurdistan. Sádaba says of her inspiration “the images are not only about the loss of women and children, it is about minorities, it is about mourning”.

On the technique, Sádaba explains: “The choice of printing the images in newsprint allows me to show them without frames, directly to the wall, keeping that fragility. Newsprint is not durable. It is not chromogenic or photographic; actually, it is the most perishable object (yesterday´s newspaper).”

This project along with the series of portraits Following the History of Representation are part of a group of works created by the artist in Halabja, Iraqi Kurdistan, a city bombed by Saddam Hussein in 1988, and where the artist worked from 2008-2010 as part of ther Residency with the Delfina Foundation and in collaboration with KHRP (Kurdish Human Rights Project).

Gulala is a clear example of the investigative journey made by the artist, who uses photography, installation and performance to primarily explore the limits of the individual and the tensions implicit in the idea of identity. She analyzes photography as a technology that has supported the production of power and normative knowledge that aim to define an image and its meaning. Whilst portraying this regulatory framework which can be called “political scene”, she questions the very scope of our gaze.

About the artist

Ixone Sadaba (1977, Bilbao)

Graduating in 2001 from the Fine Arts Basque Country, Ixone holds a MFA of the University Antonio Nebrija in Madrid and a Certificate Program at The International Centre of Photography, New York.

Her work has been widely exhibited in private galleries and public institutions such as The Reina Sofia Museum, Spain, The Guggenheim Museum, Spain, MUSAC, Spain, MoCCA Contemporary Art Museum, Toronto, Museum of Contemporary Arts, of New Oreeans.

Ixone is currently is preparing her doctoral thesis for the Goldsmiths University of London. Among her awards are “Convergencias”, Alliance Française & Fundación Pilar Citoler (2012), Sovereign European Art Prize, Hong Kong (2011), Generación Prize 2011, Caja Madrid, Spain, (2010) and Finalist at Purificación García Prize, Madrid, Spain 2003, N.Y. Festival, Gold prize, Pressbook “Pearl Harbour” 2003, and the Sovereign Art Foundation Prize in 2012.

She has been selected for various international residencies such as the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York, Delfina Foundation Residency, London/ Iraq, Mugatxoan, Fundaçao Serralves, Porto, Arteleku, San Sebastian. Her work is part of different collections such as the Guggenheim Bilbao, el MNCARS, ARTIUM, The MUSAC, Iberdrola, the BBK, the Madrid community and in numerous private collections.