In association with the Royal Academy of Arts

Converse Highlight of the Week: Majed Aslam

As part of the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award 2012, we speak to Aslam about Vitamin Water, Kevin Shields and the beauty of the Internet

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Despite only launching the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award 2012 just over a week ago, we've already received a high number of quality applications. Selecting our first 'Highlight of the Week' from the entries so far, Majed Aslam's work stood out as being communicative, aesthetically succinct and fresh. Using a varied choice of mediums, installation, digital print, found objects, sculpture, architectural pieces, video works and design concepts, Aslam's art is innovative and unique. His take on the world around him and the way he tells his story is disparate, yet at the same time Aslam moulds messages and cohesive, recognisable symbols. There is a sense of the action, the practice of actually creating Aslam's pieces, which is seemingly as important as the final work itself.

Like a lot of people I'm interested in what the Internet does and how it does it. In particular I'm interested in how the ways in which we navigate information and images on the Internet may affect the way we interact with objects and ideas in the real world

Awarded the RCA/Outset prize while still at the Royal College of Art and subsequently showing in, and curating, a number of group exhibitions, as well as collaborating with artists Chris Barr and Fay Nicholson on two ongoing projects, Aslam is more than proactive. His approach to making work is fluid and in many ways sums up exactly what the Emerging Art Prize judges are looking for. Something new, personal and ultimately distinct.

Dazed Digital: Your work takes in a wide variety of mediums, from painting and print through video and installation. How would you describe what you do?
Majed Aslam:
I think a lot of the work has roots in photography. Sometimes ideas that might start off with a found image or a picture on my iPhone end up translating, or lending themselves into becoming video or sculpture.

DD: Is there a singular current or idea running through your body of work?
Majed Aslam: There's a preoccupation with images. Particularly with regards to their currency, status and what they do. Digital images are the foundations of a lot of my work. I can make my own but often they're better found. Like a lot of people I'm interested in what the Internet does and how it does it. In particular I'm interested in how the ways in which we navigate information and images on the Internet may affect the way we interact with objects and ideas in the real world.

DD: There is a minimal value to your work, but produced in a way that seems very contemporary. Are you inspired or intrigued by the minimalist movement or any other art ideologies?
Majed Aslam: Robert Ryman is one of my favourite artists. And I like Kevin Shields. There's a kind of maximal vs. minimal play that I like. My working process is often reductive. There's a sense in which I can foreground something to produce an effect, but also to try and grasp at what lies behind the image or the object. With my inkjet prints I'm remodelling their surface using acetone. It's a very painterly process. I like the way something unique can be formed so easily out of something as ordinary as an inkjet print.

DD: There is a relationship between object, structure and image. How do you see the conversation between the image based and the sculpture based work?
Majed Aslam: I think that that relationship changes and forms, depending on a lot of things. I'm interested in what these associations between image, structure, support and object may be, but also in what the motivation to associate them might be. I can look at things and form infinite loops of meaning, but that perception can fall apart pretty quickly and reform new meanings with just a little bit of stress. I like to think of it all as being quite temporal in that sense.

DD: Is there a message or an emotion, a feeling, that you want to convey through your work?
Majed Aslam: Sometimes when I see a bottle of Vitamin Water, for a moment I think I'm looking at a digital image and not a real thing. I'd like it if my work created little shifts in perception like that.

More info on the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award 2012 HERE

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