Karam’s multi-disciplinary approach incorporates painting, drawing, sculpture and writing. Fusing various cultural influences, Karam’s works transcend social, political and national borders, forming a unique pictorial language, replete with recurring symbols, and with its own original characters and narratives. They form an alphabet of sorts, in what is an on-going, sometimes absurdist, exploration of the creative power of dreams.
Renowned for his public art and work in urban regeneration, Karam has most recently been lauded for his architectural plan The Cloud, which made international headlines for its revolutionary ideas on how to reconfigure public space amidst Dubai’s growing cityscape. Karam’s projects and installations are interventions that seek to animate cities as diverse as Melbourne, Prague, Dubai, Beirut, London and Nara, Japan. These interventions often take the form of large-scale steel sculptures, described as ‘urban toys’ by the artist. For Karam, it is not only we, as humans, who need to dream, but our cities too – his urban toys are acts of whimsy and a rebellion against the soulless nature of so many modern spaces, bringing to life the environments around him. Says Karam: “Each urban toy has a message. An open message ready to be inhabited by stories which become mingled with history.”
The exhibition at Ayyam London will comprise a series of new paintings, rich in colour and presenting a playful, almost satirical, perception of love and war. These will be shown alongside editions of his iconic steel sculptural works, recent examples of which have taken on a reflective quality, with burnished surfaces, rusted browns and even beads and buttons making way for highly polished mirrored steel. Pieces both reproduce the world around them and disappear into it, becoming one with their surroundings.