Hassan Sharif lived and worked in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, though his work is featured in collections throughout the Middle East and Europe. After getting a brief start in artwork as a political cartoonist, Sharif began formal art studies in 1979 and soon abandoned these cartoons in favor of process-oriented abstract art.
Sharif’s studio looks bright in this photograph, packed with studies of different styles and materials. It’s likely that the artist spent a lot of time standing in front of this table, constructing various works. For a large chunk of his career, Sharif’s practice revolved around works that were produced by “weaving” together random, commonplace or mass-produced objects, removing them from their original function. I imagine that the studio space, then must have been quite large to accommodate these weavings and all of the objects that would have been required.
In the foreground are some paintbrushes and other implements, while behind the artist I see a sheet with what looks like it could be inspirational or reference images of different patterns. The overall mood of this studio is bright and almost cheerful – with the stark white lighting in contrast to the deep colors that were often present in Sharif’s works. The bright, natural lighting also lends itself to the meditative process behind Sharif’s works, and their intense focus on arbitrarily complex systems.
When he wasn’t working on his own practice, Sharif was also helping emerging artists by helping to found several institutions that focused on promoting the work of contemporary Emirati artists, both established and emerging. Sharif passed away at the age of 65 in September 2016.