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Brut Nama (The Chronicles of Brut) | Recent Work By Abdullah M.I Syed

Aicon Gallery is proud to present Brut-Nama: The Chronicles of Brut, the first major U. S. solo exhibition by Australia-based Pakistani artist Abdullah M I Syed. Brut-Nama represents the culmination of ten years of research born from Syed’s award-winning installation, Discourse within Discourse: The Circle at the IAO Gallery in Oklahoma City (2003) and developed over the past decade through a series of international solo and group exhibitions while living, working and studying between Karachi and Sydney. The title Brut-Nama: The Chronicles of Brut alludes to the immensely popular fragrance, Brut for Men, launched by Faberge in 1964. Designed to create a new market for male grooming products under the slogan “The Essence of Man,” Brut set itself up as a catch-all symbol attempting to embody a swarm of conflicting notions of traditional masculinity, strength and character, while its extreme binary, signified by the word brute, implied the inherent power make it so by sheer force of will. In contrast, the work in BrutNama presents a series of nuanced, complex and interlocking visual chapters, portraying contemporary Pakistani masculinities ranging from brutish, the raw and unrestrained, to the cultured, gentle and atypical. The exhibition explores the very essence of the dichotomy of the word Brut(e) through chance, experimentation, collaboration and real and imagined narratives while drawing on an obsession with the effects of history and geography on questions of performed identity and the construction of multiple contrasting ‘Others’.