COMMA's latest double-header couple are Jedediah Caesar and Naheed Raza, two artists interested in landscape, transience and tactility.
Sand is a new film by Raza, depicting the desert of the Empty Quarter, one of the largest expanses of sand in the world. Its 650,000 square kilometers stretches across Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, more than the combined land areas of Belgium, the Netherlands and France. But the presence of this vast expanse is seldom felt in the minutiae of the dunes; Raza chooses for the most part to bring the camera face to face with each individual cascade rather than repeatedly imitate David Lean. Granulated dramas plays out before us, accompanied by the steady whir of the projector. It is hypnotic and one cannot avoid the temptation to indulge in metaphors for time, being and presence, especially in the context of the middle east's wealth imbalance. Oil, water, construction and progress all flow in the constant formation and rapid degradation of the desert.
Ceasar's contribution finds itself less comfortable in the space. This back room of the Bloomberg gallery was designed with socializing in mind, not site specific art. It is an events space and is bar far in a way the short straw ready to be drawn, but Ceasar does an admirable job of using it to good effect. On one wall we have slithers of coloured resin, capturing the petrified remains of found objects and sundry detritus. Elsewhere a series of pebble-dash and rubble casts restrict access to the balcony space. The second work has little poise as a minimalist dialogue on architectural intervention due to the unremarkable viewing points available to the public but the cut-resin pyramid has potential. There are similar themes at work here as in Raza, with an emphasis on the metamorphosis and inherent ritual in the formation of new matter. They appear as if thin dissections of an old yew, one that has absorbed the surrounding muck and discarded remnants of humanity by some strange osmosis.