MONIRA AL QADIRI
SILOED BEINGS

KÖNIG MUNICH | ATRIUM & SILOS
8 MAY – 30 JUNE 2024

OPENING
7 MAY 2024 | 6 – 9 PM
ARTIST TALK AT 6.30 PM

KÖNIG BERGSON is pleased to present the inaugural show SILOED BEINGS by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri. The exhibition not only marks the beginning of the new gallery but also the repurposing of the former power plant, specifically the silos where coal was stored. Al Qadiri's exhibition takes up the line of transformation, offering possible interpretations for the future beyond natural fuels and the culture of resource consumption.

SILOED BEINGS brings together four recent series by Al Qadiri from 2022–2023. Arranged linearly in the spaces of the silos, they construct several possible narratives. At the entrance, we are greeted by the sculptures ORBITAL, in which Al Qadiri takes the forms of drill heads used in the petroleum industry and transforms them into fantastical, otherworldly objects that dig not downwards into the earth but upwards into the sky. In the second silo, the theme of oil is continued with the series NAWA. The aluminium sculptures recreate patterns from cross-sections of cable systems used in the petroleum industry. In Al Qadiri's world, these technical diagrams blossom into paradoxically beautiful flowers, reminding us of the contradiction between benefit and harm, apparent prosperity and long-term impact.

Starting from the depths of the earth and the theme of oil in halls 1 and 2, in hall 3, we transition to the ocean with the series of glass sculptures MAN OF WAR, inspired by the marine creature of the same name. Like humans, man o' war are social beings that live in colonies. At the same time, however, they are particularly fragile and filled with highly toxic poison. In the final hall, the sculptures ZEPHYR are presented. They represent the bioluminescent single-celled organisms dinoflagellates, which despite being invisible to human’s eye, produce nearly half of the planet's oxygen through photosynthesis. They also form the original building blocks of oil that formed the substance over tens of millions of years.

Al Qadiri’s exhibition extends beyond the spaces of the former silos into the atrium of the former powerplant. Hanging nearly 20 meters above the ground are the inflatable sculptures from the BENZENE FLOAT series. With them, Al Qadiri enlarges the molecules of various petrochemical products such as gasoline, benzene, naphthalene, propane, asphalt, tar, and countless more mutations. Suspended almost menacingly above us, they serve as a reminder of the immense scale of the oil industry and its influence on every sphere of life.

The exhibition, like Al Qadiri's creative work, is based on research and reflection on the past and possible futures. It unfolds between the depths of the earth and the ocean, between the present and the past (such as when the Arabian Peninsula was at the bottom of the sea), between the theme of oil and, in a more general sense, our footprint on nature. SILOED BEINGS could be the poisonous creature "Man o' War" or the single-celled dinoflagellates, but above all, with the title, Al Qadiri reminds us that we are not isolated beings, and every action has its impact on the environment around us. Because no man is an island.

EXHIBITED WORKS

BENZENE FLOAT (Kekulene)

Monira Al Qadiri

BENZENE FLOAT (Kekulene)

Orbital 3

Monira Al Qadiri

Orbital 3

Orbital 2

Monira Al Qadiri

Orbital 2

The Guardian

Monira Al Qadiri

The Guardian

Zephyr (Noctiluca)

Monira Al Qadiri

Zephyr (Noctiluca)

Zephyr (Dinophysis)

Monira Al Qadiri

Zephyr (Dinophysis)

Zephyr (Ornithocerus)

Monira Al Qadiri

Zephyr (Ornithocerus)

NAWA (46)

Monira Al Qadiri

NAWA (46)

NAWA (42)

Monira Al Qadiri

NAWA (42)

NAWA (34)

Monira Al Qadiri

NAWA (34)

NAWA (29)

Monira Al Qadiri

NAWA (29)

NAWA (21)

Monira Al Qadiri

NAWA (21)

NAWA (5)

Monira Al Qadiri

NAWA (5)

Man of War

Monira Al Qadiri

Man of War

Man of War

Monira Al Qadiri

Man of War

Man of War

Monira Al Qadiri

Man of War

Man of War

Monira Al Qadiri

Man of War

Man of War

Monira Al Qadiri

Man of War

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FEATURED ARTIST

MONIRA AL QADIRI

Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983) is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. Spanning sculpture, installation, film, and performance, Al Qadiri’s multifaceted practice is based on research into the cultural histories of the Gulf region. Her interpretation of the Gulf’s so-called “petro-culture” is manifested through speculative scenarios that take inspiration from science fiction, autobiography, traditional practices, and pop culture, resulting in uncanny and covertly subversive works that destabilize mythologies of statecraft and modernization as well as traditional notions of gender. Tracing the delicate ecologies threate...
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