About the Photographer
Egyptian, b. 1979
Ambiguity and fluidity of meaning are explored in the work of Iman Issa, who conjures monuments that do not exist. Issa’s project “Material” (2010–12) takes a memorial or a political conflict as its starting point, and using objects, videos, photographs, and text, creates abstract, maquette-like proposals for new monuments—ones that strip meaning and sentiment from the experience of viewing structures made to memorialize an event. In an era when we might be prone to hyper-memorialize, Issa reminds us of how unexceptional the experience of a monument can be, and how often meaning depends on local knowledge. In this way her work postulates that public monuments are ineffective, their messages diluted over time, and their symbolism so simple and reduced that they are emptied of meaning. Ultimately, she questions the ability of language and symbolism to summarize collective experience, as she emphasizes the unstable nature of both history and memory.
Iman Issa completed her MFA in visual arts from Columbia University (2007). She won the 1st Han Nefkens Foundation – MACBA Award in 2012. She has held solo exhibitions at Carlier | Gebauer, Berlin (2016), Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida (2015), Rodeo London, London (2015), A Centre for Contemporary Visual Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (2012), and Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo (2008). Her works are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Spain, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, and Magasin III, Sweden.