Blenheim Art Foundation has announced a major solo exhibition by Mohammed Sami at Blenheim Palace, ‘After the Storm’,. The exhibition will mark a decade of Blenheim Art Foundation’s award-winning programme of contemporary art at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
For the exhibition, Mohammed Sami (b.1984, Baghdad) will develop an entirely new body of work, building on recurring themes and imagery within his practice, as well as drawing inspiration from the history and collection of Blenheim Palace. Renowned for his evocative and multi-layered paintings, Sami weaves together belated memories shaped by his formative years and subsequent personal history.
Through exploring retroactive memories, his paintings capture a world shaped not just by the weight of the past but also the present, creating scenarios that are often left to the viewer to interpret through the lens of their own experiences. As Sami has previously written ‘painting becomes the only medium to grasp what is not there in painting anymore’.
Sami’s paintings feature landscapes, interiors and more abstracted scenes, whilst always being devoid of
the human figure. They blur the line between reality and artifice, conjuring the disquieting sensation of both presence and absence.
Blenheim Palace, a gift from Queen Anne to the First Duke of Marlborough in recognition of his triumph at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 and later the birthplace of wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, stands as an architectural testament to military glory. Placed within the context of Blenheim Palace and its world-renowned collection of portraiture and narrative artworks, Sami’s enigmatic paintings challenge viewers to reconsider the didactic nature of these traditional genres.
Michael Frahm, Director of Blenheim Art Foundation, said
‘We are thrilled to bring the exceptional work of Mohammed Sami to Blenheim Palace for his major solo exhibition. Sami’s unique visual language, which merges the personal and historical, the fragmented and the surreal, is set to engage audiences in a profound dialogue with the Palace’s storied past and its impressive art collection. This exhibition not only celebrates a decade of contemporary art within our walls but also reaffirms our commitment to showcasing groundbreaking artists whose work resonates with the times and places they inhabit.’
Edward Spencer-Churchill, Founder of Blenheim Art Foundation, said
‘It is a pleasure to welcome Mohammed Sami to Blenheim. This powerful and thought-provoking new body of work will no doubt find additional resonance in the context of Blenheim’s history, creating a unique dialogue between past and present.
Mohammed Sami, ‘After the Storm’, 9th July – 20th October 2024, Blenheim Art Foundation at Blenheim Palace
About the artist
Mohammed Sami was born in Baghdad in 1984, later immigrating to Sweden in 2007 and now lives and
works in London. In 2023, Sami’s work was the subject of a solo exhibition at Camden Art Centre, London, his first solo institutional exhibition in the UK, which toured to De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2022); Aichi Triennale (2022); the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); the Hayward Gallery, London (2021); and Towner Eastbourne (2020). His paintings are held by Tate, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Imperial War Museum, London; LACMA, Los Angeles; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Buffalo AKG Art Museum, New York; and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam