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Artlist — Center for Contemporary Arts Prague

Karíma Al-Mukhtarová

First Name
Birth place
Place of work
Berlin, Prague
conceptual art
installation art
CSU Library
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About artist

So far most of Karíma Al-Mukhtar’s creative work has been predominantly in the fields of installation and performance. Thematically, her work often examines various myths from the domains of the so-called “urban legends” and physical phenomena. Although in this sense much of her work may seem closely related to a type of magic trick on the one hand, and laboratory or social research on the other hand, usually the outcome is not a point or piece of information, but a visual situation. The artist’s articulation of object, process and social situations results in forms presented in a sensitive way, which can be, for a great part, attributed   to the influence of her teacher Jiří Kovanda. At the same time,  by basing her activities on the cultural codes of superstition and scientific research, and recently by examining her relationship to Arab culture, the artist has been shifting the meaning of this inherited visual language into a newly articulated context.  

The process that begins with her intention and results in the final form is particularly manifested in the artist’s performances. In Feel the Jump (2011) she reconstructed the scene of a fall, derived from Yves Klein’s famous action, into a static moment. Using physical effort she held herself on the verge of a free fall from a plinth placed in the gallery. Her work here became the embodiment of the moment of surrender to gravitational force stretched into a long time interval. In another work,, titled Between (2013), she performed subtle physical intervention by sewing together the fingertips of two friends sitting opposite each other, using a needle and thread on their skin. Here she created a corporeal situation as well as a parable of social relationships.  

Al-Mukhtar further touched upon the above-mentioned world of superstitions and myths in her 26 works called 28X1509/2011/12 (2011-12) in which, as part of her research, she undertook to verify diverse urban legends. The cycle primarily consists of installations conceived as tests of the functionality of a given principle that ultimately represents autonomous art solutions. Among these works we find a bookshelf full of books hanging in the air held only by the friction of the pages of two interleaved books (Project nr. 11, 2012), or some smaller projects where Mukhtar took advantage of the unexpected effects brought about by a pair of intersecting objects. For instance, in her work Nr. 21 (2012,) she made a contrast of a fresh tomato interwoven with cooked spaghetti. As evident from the last-mentioned work, the realizations from this cycle often represented ephemeral outcomes, leading to an aesthetic conclusion instead of an empirical one.

In many of her recent works the artist utilizes the results of the above research in projects where her previous position of a “magician” shifts to bringing about an effect using the contrast of materials and unusually applied techniques. The aesthetic and semantic values of such confrontations take over the fascination aroused in the viewer by a “magic trick”. In her series Exception (2013-4) the leading role belongs to cross-stitching, uncharacteristically applied to wood where she created a number of wooden posts with embroidered patterns. In another part of this series, the artist experimented with embroidery in the human skin, which is documented by photographs.

In the exhibition project Dear Valued Customers (2014), the artist’s interest in embroidery was demonstrated in relation to the phenomenon of Arabic ornament, applied at an exhibition on a mannequin dressed in a burqa. In the context of the artist’s work, we can perceive this connection as work with a specific handicraft, but also as a non-dogmatic commentary of contemporary multiculturalism issues. Instead of pronounced theories, we are addressed here by a purely visual situation carrying a message about another culture by using its forms.  


Karíma Al-Mukhtar’s work balances on the border of aesthetics of object relations, process experiments and playing with cultural codes. It is precisely this marginal position, where visual art does not stiffen in its petrified form, performance does not get lost in an expressive gesture, and playing with meanings does not occlude objectivity, which is perhaps this artist’s powerful foundation. 

Author of the annotation
Viktor Čech



from 2014 Studio of Jiří Příhoda, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague

2012-2014 Studio of Jiří David, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague

2010-2012 Studio of Jiří Kovanda, Faculty of Art and Design UJEP, Usti nad Labem

2009-2010 Atelier Pavel Kopriva, Faculty of Art and Design UJEP, Usti nad Labem

internships, residencies

2014 Jiří Švestka Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2011 Graphic design and illustration TV, KyAMK Univ. of Applied Sciences, Kouvola,



2013 Winner of the Essl Art Award CEE 2013 for the Czech Republic

2011 Studio prize in the studio of Jiří Kovanda


Solo exhibitions
Thirteen Joints, Galerie Ferdinanda Baumanna, Praha
Asi přijde i Zdislav (s Davidem Helánem), Galerie Klubovna, Brno (performance)

Dear Valued Customers, Galerie Hlavního města Prahy - StartUp, Praha
Na Okraji, Galerie Prokopka, Praha 
Kouzelník (v rámci projektu Je ne travaille jamais), INI Gallery, Praha

Needlework, Galerie NoD, Praha (performance)
Almost drama, Avoid Floating Gallery, Praha

Strč prst skrz, Galerie A.M.180, Praha
Jarní úklid, Galerie Altán Klamovka, Praha
Hledání jehly v kupce sena, Galerie Umakart, Brno

And Winner is..., Galerie m.odla, Praha 
Group exhibitions not included in ARTLIST.
Hlad - festival performance, Galerie Ferdinanda Baumanna, Praha
Šité na míru: Karíma Al-Mukhtarová, David Helán, Matěj Smrkovský, Galerie Aula, Brno

Above The Roofs, Berlin (DE)
Alotrium, Galerie U Dobrého pastýře, Brno

Transcending Cultures – ESSL ART AWARDCEE 2013, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg/Vienna (A)
Hunky Dory, Karlin Studios, Praha 
ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2013, Nominees’ Exhibition, Galerie Futura, Praha   
Sochař nebo zahradník?, Galerie Hluboká, Hluboká nad Vltavou

What shall we do?, Galerie 1. patro, Praha   
Nezávislí pozorovatelé, Karlin Studios, Praha
Concentrado V. “A4”, APIS Gallery, Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
Nezvaný host, Galerie Chodovská tvrz, Praha
Posun o 90°, Galerie NoD, Praha   
Gold Rain, Galerie Mumie, Ústí nad Labem 

Kukačka Festival, Ostrava 
Transparent Refraction, TamTam Gallery, Berlin (DE)
Videokemp, park u Domu umění, Brno
Art Has No History, Karlin Studios, Praha
Květy zla - festival performance, Galerie Ferdinanda Baumanna, Praha
Clean Air, Galerie Mumie, Ústí nad Labem 
Silk Road Project, Ústí nad Labem/Kazahkstan (CZ), (KZ)

Městečko usíná, Galerie NoD, Praha 
Making Worlds, Galerie Emila Filly, Ústí nad Labem 

Via Lucis, SGVU, Litoměřice 
Other realisations

kurátorská činnost:


Manifestation of Medium - Petr Krátký, Viktor Takáč, Bonobo First Floor, Berlin 


Quando sorge la luna - Anežka Hošková, Lucie Mičíková, Bonobo First Floor, Berlin


DRÖMMAR/Markéta Vlčková, Galerie Prokopka, Praha

Posun o 90°, Galerie NoD, Praha  (s Viktorem Čechem) 


Spolukurátorka Galerie Altán Klamovka 


Spolukurátorka galerie I.D.A., Praha



Čech, Viktor: Odpařující se konceptuálno, aneb o současné situaci výtvarnosti nad třemi příklady, Artalk.cz, publikováno 10.2.2015

Čech, Viktor: Essl Art Award CEE 2013, Časopis Ateliér č.13/2013, s.16

Ledvina, Josef: Výtvarnost / konceptualita, Časopis Ateliér č.12/2011, s.4


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