EVERYTHING MUST GO: Sophia Al Maria
The Third Line is proud to present the first solo-exhibition by Sophia Al Maria in the UAE. The exhibition EVERYTHING MUST GO is an iteration of Black Friday—Sophia’s solo exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 2016—and takes its name from a new series of work. Sophia has created an immersive experience, capturing the chaotic, almost apocalyptic act of consuming. The viewer is invited to experience illusions of order in underlying confusion and pandemonium.
Black Friday (2016) shown here outside museum context for the first time, is a projected video featuring primarily empty malls in Doha (Qatar) and offers an ominous take on shopping. In Black Friday, the shopping mall unfolds as a beautiful yet eerie space with endless disorienting corridors and overwhelming ceilings; recognisable yet frightening at the same time. Sophia presents an otherworldly 21st century temple of consumerism and confronts us with the society we have created for ourselves.
In her new series of works, EVERYTHING MUST GO, Sophia introduces a playful twist, juxtaposing emblems of consumerism with military jargon and captures the crux of the end of days where chaos and destruction are met by a violent military attempt to reinstate order. EVERYTHING MUST GO consists of a large series of stills taken from Black Friday’s The Litany series—the installation of recycled mobile devices and packs of crisps splurging from shopping trolleys, displaying flickering and faltering loops of countless consumption references—each printed with either a fake beauty product term or military idiom. When read together or even at random, the grouping of words result in absurd and obscene combinations.
Throughout her practice, Sophia has been finding ways to describe 21st century life in the Gulf through art, writing, and filmmaking. She has explored different complexities such as environmental damage, religious conservatism, and historical contradictions that the Gulf has encountered. Sophia is a young artist aware of the rapid changing times and capable of articulating the controversies that cause friction in contemporary Gulf cities.