Highlights from the Gypsum Gallery at London’s Frieze Art Fair

Gypsum Gallery is a solo booth by Tamara Al-Samerraei, a Kuwaiti-born artist. (Supplied)
Updated 07 October 2019

Highlights from the Gypsum Gallery at London’s Frieze Art Fair

DUBAI: Here are some highlights from Gypsum Gallery’s solo booth by Tamara Al-Samerraei, on show at London’s Frieze Art Fair until Oct. 6. 

‘Jungle’ (2019)

Kuwait-born, Beirut-based painter Tamara Al-Samerraei is representing Cairo-based Gypsum Gallery at London’s prestigious art fair. Al-Samerraei’s work is, the gallery says, “often triggered by photographs from her personal archive and from the public domain.” Inspiration can come from film stills, Internet searches, or found photographs.

‘Living Room II’ (2016)

Al-Samerraei “depicts indoor and outdoor spaces, objects, and figures that are stripped of everything except their bare essence,” Gypsum’s press release for Frieze states. “Her details are vague, and pigments take on the appearance of discoloration — or the inverse of it.”

‘Night Shrub’ (2018)

This painting from last year is typical of Al-Samerraei’s tendency to imply “outside interference from the margin of the canvas into the frame,” the statement explains. “Like a spectral vision, we register a palpable presence even when we can’t physically see it.”


REVIEW: Hijack movie ‘7500’ opts for low-key suspense

Updated 09 July 2020

REVIEW: Hijack movie ‘7500’ opts for low-key suspense

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in tense, claustrophobic drama

AMMAN: After a string of huge movie roles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has taken a step back from Hollywood to focus on his family in recent years. Now, the 39-year-old is back on screen playing Tobias Ellis, the first officer on a commercial flight from Berlin to Paris. When hijackers attempt to take over the plane, Tobias winds up trapped in the cockpit while chaos unfolds just a few feet away. The film — named for the emergency code given to hijacked aircraft — is the feature debut of Patrick Vollrath, a German director with an Academy Award nomination (for the short “Everything Will Be Okay”) already to his name.

Vollrath limits the action to the cockpit of the plane, creating an almost unbearably claustrophobic atmosphere that’s only heightened by the contrasting mundanity of the opening scenes. As Tobias and his captain (played by German actor Carlo Kitzlinger) go through their checklists and procedures, the knowledge that something terrible is about to happen only ratchets up the tension, and when the situation does erupt, the brutality of the attack is shocking in the extreme.

Quite deliberately, “7500” lacks the spectacle of classic disaster movies, and though it’s fiction, the obvious similarities to events such as those aboard United Airlines Flight 93 lend the movie a sense of disconcerting resonance. Gordon-Levitt turns in a masterful performance, never once seeking to dominate the film, but capturing a sense of impotent fury and fear as his place of work — previously his comfort zone — is turned into a literal prison.

Vollrath never opts for histrionics, but lets the sparse script and his semi-improvisational style empower his lead actor to bring a raw and uncompromising edge to the performance. Vollrath sidesteps many of the usual clichés used in modern terrorist movies, making less of the reasons for the attack and instead exploring the toll exerted on both sides. There’s no music score, so the movie uses the noise of the aircraft, the attack, and the muffled sounds of the world beyond the cockpit to underline just how trapped Tobias becomes.

“7500” is not an easy film to watch, and it would be hard to describe it as ‘enjoyable,’ but it is an impressive demonstration of a director and an actor at the top of their respective games.