Oliver Flexman takes on Operations in the Contact Zone during Exeter Phoenix residency

Ruth Hazard | 20 July 2012
Tasty 2011 is part of the artist's collection exploring the way in which commerical products affect the relationship between the West and the Arab World© The artist
Exhibition: Oliver Flexman: Operations in the Contact Zone, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter, until August 31 2012

Oliver Flexman has taken on the tricky task of negotiating the complex Western relationship with the Arab world during his year-long studio residency at Exeter Phoenix.

Through a combination of video, print, drawing and painting he investigates the stereotypes that govern perception and engagement with the Middle East, taking a special interest in how commercial products influence the way the two cultural spheres understand each other.

Chocolate Soda and Mayo (2011)© The artist
Pieces such as You Got the Right one Baby uh Huh, an illuminated restaurant sign installation, borrow their titles from marketing slogans used for Western products distributed in the Middle East.

Care Labels, a new series of fabric pieces, use Arabic text from product packaging available on the UK high street and are shown alongside a set of photographs of western tattoos in Arabic language.

His video work combines found film clips from movies produced in the West and set in the Middle East between 2000 and 2010.

The film plays out a fragmented set of polarised stereotypes, which may or may not be a true representation of the place in which they were filmed.

The display is the result of an ongoing cooperation with the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS).

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed Sunday). Admission free.
You Got the Right one Baby (2011)© The artist

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